Durban - United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa has posted what has already become an iconic image as South Africa and the world bid their final farewells to Nelson Mandela.
Titled “Saying goodbye to Madiba”, Holomisa captioned the image on Facebook: “Mrs Graça Machel and Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela bid farewell to Madiba before Winnie left for JHB with all Madiba’s children and grandchildren. Graça remained behind.”
Holomisa has long regarded himself as an adopted son of Mandela’s, despite breaking away from the ANC to form the UDM, and was one of the last people to see Mandela alive.
In his final moments, Mandela lay on his deathbed, surrounded by those who loved him - his wife Graca Machel at his side, as well as family, elders from the Thembu people, a priest and Holomisa.
“I can’t describe what happened,” Holomisa said days later.
“I went into Tata’s bedroom. There were a few people there. I could see things were not the same… I was privileged to be invited by the family to see Madiba in his last few hours.”
At Qunu on Sunday, he thanked the government, various departments, leaders and all those who had helped Mandela.
“I wish to extend on behalf of the family, plus the king of Thembus, the warmest thanks,” said Holomisa.
“The leaders who shared this stage today, thank you for being here. Your words inspired us and warmed our hearts.”
Explaining his decision to post the photograph of the two Mandela widows in intimate mutual sorrow, he said: “It was a good thing to see that he’s still valued and it (shows) the unity that Madiba left (behind),” EWN reported.