Ramaphosa’s heartfelt apology for not honouring Mam’ Winnie during her life
President Cyril Ramaphosa commemorated the life of Winnie Madkizela-Mandela in a moving eulogy delivered before she was laid to rest on Saturday‚ where he apologised for failing to properly honour her in her lifetime.
“I’m sorry Mama‚ in according you honour so late. I am sorry we delay this much‚” Ramaphosa said at the funeral at the Orlando Stadium‚ an area in Soweto she called home until she passed on.
Ramaphosa acknowledged that it was far too often that they were not there for Madikizela-Mandela during her life fighting the apartheid regime and since the dawn of democracy.
“As we bid her farewell‚ we are forced to admit that too often as she rose‚ she rose alone‚” he said.
Ramaphosa said that during the period of mourning‚ many people have been touching the icon’s wounds‚ it should have been done during in her lifetime.
“It ought to have been done long ago. For she wore the gaping wounds of her people. She had been left to tend her wounds on her own for most of her life. Left alone to fend for herself only caused her more pain. But she touched our wounds all the time‚” the president told the crowd gathered.
Ramaphosa threw his weight behind a common thread shared by other speakers at the funeral that Madikizela-Mandela led the fight against apartheid but fell victim to patriarchy.
“Like the women who went to Jesus’s tomb after the men ran away‚ she was perpetually in the trenches‚ never afraid that it would be too much for her to bear. When it was safe to do so‚ the men took over again and the women were relegated to a supporting role. Mam’ Winnie provided leadership at the most difficult periods and sought no reward‚” Ramaphosa said.
He spoke of Madikizela-Mandela’s ability to unite people along party political and racial lines to celebrate her life and honour her legacy.
“Just as Mam’ Winnie has united us in sorrow‚ let us honour her memory by uniting in common purpose‚” Ramaphosa said.
He further committed that the ANC will bestow on her Isitwalandwe/Seaparankoe‚ its highest award of honour.
Ramaphosa also promised to fulfil an undertaking he made to Madikizela-Mandela to the widows of Marikana and ask their forgiveness.
According to the president‚ Madkizela-Mandela said she would take him to Marikana with EFF leader Julius Malema but could not go due to ill health.
He said he would go by himself and would take Malema along with him.
Ramaphosa said while the nation recognises the pain and wounds of the Mother of the Nation‚ we must recognise our wounds as a nation.
“We must acknowledge that we are a society that is hurting‚ damaged by our past‚ numbed by our present and hesitant about our future.
This may explain why we are easily prone to anger and violence. Many people saw Mam’ Winnie as their mother because her own wounds made her real and easy to relate to”.
There were tears, songs and fiery speeches as the nation bid farewell to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who was laid to rest in Johannesburg on April 14 2018.