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Who's who at Winnie's classy 70th

By unknown | Feb 27, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's 70th birthday party at Vodaworld in Midrand was a classy affair.

It attracted political heavyweights, including former deputy president Jacob Zuma, Bantu Holomisa, Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma, Zola Skweyiya, Jeff Radebe, Danny Jordaan, Phathekile Holomisa, Tito Mboweni, Amos Masondo, Lindiwe Sisulu and Fikile Mbalula.

At the bash on Sunday night Americans were represented by author and motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant, Armstrong Williams, who is a TV host, and world boxing champion Laila Ali.

Local artists Sello Chicco Twala, Thandiswa Mazwai, Mzwakhe Mbuli and the Bala brothers also wished her well while acknowledging her role in the struggle.

Welcome Msomi did an excellent job on the seven decades musical production that showcased Dorothy Masuka, Dark City Sisters, African Inkspots, Ringo Madlingozi and Judith Sephuma.

Proving to be an eloquent speaker, Madikizela-Mandela told the spellbound audience that there had been many unauthorised biographies about her life.

"I have learnt a lot of things about myself," she said, before taking the gathering back to her roots, proudly proclaiming her Mpondo heritage.

Though she hadn't known it at the time, her home had been a stone's throw away from Oliver Tambo's village.

Stunning and radiant in her JJ Schoeman creation, the social worker and mother recalled how Holomisa used to say that her problem was awulawuleki, meaning she is uncontrollable.

She then assured Holomisa and Zuma that things were going to be fine. Both leaders have had run-ins with the ruling party.

Also interesting was the lengthy message by President Thabo Mbeki. It was the closest thing towards normalising their relationship as he spoke about her political activism, social work in her community, her tenacity and resilience that the kept names of Robben Island's imprisoned politicians in the public and international arena.

Graca Machel also spoke glowingly about Madikizela-Mandela, and commented on her striking looks. The birthday girl then referred to Machel as her younger sister, and thanked her profusely for getting Madiba, her former husband, to throw her a birthday party in spite of floods in Mozambique.

Earlier comedian David Kau had taken the mickey out of former president Nelson Mandela, saying that the reason why he'd spent 27 years on Robben Island was because he could not swim.

At the end of the evening it was clear that Madikizela-Mandela was going back into politics. Reading between the lines in her speech about her home town's lack of infrastructure, roads and housing, it was clear that she was ready to champion these causes.

Many people commented that it would have been great to have Madiba remarry her and have two powerful women in his life.

Madikizela-Mandela received a spectacular necklace with the faces of her daughters, Zinzi and Zenani, and those of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren's engraved on it.


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