•Aregbesola, Lagos Assembly mourn
South Africa was in mourning yesterday after the death of anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, aged 81, for whom a state funeral will be held in two weeks’ time.
Hundreds of red-clad supporters of the radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters marched to Madikizela-Mandela’s home in the Johannesburg township of Soweto to pay homage to “the mother of the nation”, television footage showed.
Julius Malema, who heads the EFF, was once a staunch member of the ruling African National Congress party, to which Nelson Mandela and his ex-wife Madikizela-Mandela belonged, but remained friends with the latter after quitting to form his own party.
Malema visited the home in Soweto, lauding Madikizela-Mandela’s contribution to South Africa’s liberation struggle, and noting that the EFF, unlike the ANC, were “never ashamed of her”.
Madikizela-Mandela was a controversial figure, at one time afforded heroine status for her courage during Mandela’s 27-year incarceration, but later demonised for how far she was prepared to go in the struggle for liberation.
She was at Mandela’s side when he emerged triumphantly from prison.
He went on to become president in 1994.
The couple divorced in 1996 after almost four decades of marriage.
Cyril Ramaphosa has said a memorial service will be held for Madikizela-Mandela on April 11, and a state funeral will take place in Johannesburg on April 14.
Osun Governor Rauf Aregbesola described the death of anti-Apartheid crusader, as a twilight in the annals of South African history.
Aregbesola, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Mr. Sola Fasure, said Winnie represented the last bastion of those who freed South Africa from the shackles of white obnoxious rule, which ended in the early nineties.
The governor noted that Winnie exhibited uncommon leadership and strength of character by providing leadership for a people under economic and politics bondage to the land of freedom.
The statement said in part: “Winnie, the South African anti-apartheid campaigner, was undoubtedly one of the strongest human in world history. Her death signifies the gradual passing away of the last freedom fighters of the apartheid era. She was the last of the Titans.”
The Lagos State House of Assembly described the death of Winnie as a great loss to Africa.
Her death was brought to the notice of members by Deputy Majority Leader, Olumuyiwa Jimoh during plenary yesterday.
The Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, stated that Winnie Mandela was a loyal woman to her husband and their party, the Africa National Congress (ANC).
Directing the Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni, to write a letter of condolence to the people of South Africa through their embassy, the Speaker emphasised that the woman was a role model to women.