By SA News
The memorial service honouring the life and times of struggle heroine, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, will take place at Orlando Stadium next week, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on State and Official Funerals confirmed on Thursday.
“In consultation with Mrs Madikizela-Mandela’s family, government will host a memorial service at Orlando Stadium, Soweto, on Wednesday, 11 April followed by a funeral service on 14 April at the same venue,” said the IMC’s chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
Dlamini Zuma, who is also Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, said the change from the original venue of Regina Mundi Catholic Church is due to the size of the venue.
“The change was made after the consideration of the size of the venue and the people expected to attend the memorial service,” she told journalists gathered at a media briefing at Orlando Stadium.
The IMC on State and Official Funerals — made up of Minister Dlamini Zuma together with the Ministers of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane, State Security Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Zweli Mkhize — thanked everyone across the globe for their overwhelming show of support following the passing on of Mama Winnie, as she was affectionately known.
Madikizela-Mandela passed away on Easter Monday at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg after a long illness that saw her being in and out of hospital since the start of the year.
Minister Dlamini Zuma said government has witnessed how people from all walks of life, including the media, are coming together to celebrate and reflect on the selfless sacrifices made by Mama Winnie.
This, said the Minister, bears testimony that her legacy and fight for equality and justice will continue as a hallmark of our common endeavour for justice.
The IMC reiterated President Cyril Ramaphosa’s condolences to the Mandela and Madikizela families and all South Africans and the world at large.
Government further acknowledged the messages of support that have been received from various Heads of States and eminent persons across the globe ahead of Mama Winnie’s funeral next weekend.
The Minister said government is preparing for dignitaries from around the globe, who want to attend the funeral.
“The Department of International Relations and Cooperation is the one receiving the confirmations of those who would like to come,” she said.
Fighting for freedom
The IMC described the 81-year-old as someone who touched the lives of many people in South Africa and beyond. This was through the tenacity she displayed during the fight for freedom and the subsequent suffering she endured as a result.
The IMC said while there is sorrow in bidding her farewell, there is a sense of pride in that she lived to ultimately see democratic South Africa.
The President has declared a Special Official Funeral Category 1, which entails elements of military ceremonial honours and is declared in line with the Presidency’s State, Official and Provincial Official Funeral Policy for persons of extraordinary credentials, specifically designated by the President.
“The nature of the funeral itself is the highest you can give to a civilian. There will be similarities to [former President Nelson Mandela’s State Funeral] but we cannot say it will be exactly like the one for Tata Madiba,” said Minister Dlamini Zuma in response to a question.
Meanwhile, national days of mourning have been declared from 3 April up to the day of her funeral on Saturday, 14 April. In line with this declaration, the National Flag has, with immediate effect, been flown as half-mast at all flag stations countrywide and at South African diplomatic missions abroad.