Picture: GCIS/Twitter

Johannesburg - Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s first grandchild Bambatha Mandela called out those trying to tarnish her legacy.

Speaking at his grandmother’s memorial memorial service in Orlando Stadium, Bambatha said: “To all the people trying to tarnish umakhulu’s legacy ... you must stop behaving like ungrateful children. We have lost an amazing woman. They must learn to have respect,” Bambatha said to loud cheers from the crowd.

He said Madikizela-Mandela and his grandfather late president Nelson Mandela both had a huge impact in changing the country’s trajectory.

Bambatha also disclosed that the family called Madikizela-Mandela ‘Big Mommy’.

“What do you have to say when you have to bury your parent? Even though she was old, I never thought umakhulu would die. I always thought she’d live forever,” Mandela said.

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He spoke about how supportive Madikizela-Mandela was when he was going through a rough patch. “I was a rebel as you remember there were headlines of me on Sunday papers,” he said.

Bambatha was once in the news for a stabbing in Atholl, Johannesburg. “She would call me to come and visit Parliament - as we called the Orlando home - to come and get pocket money.”

It is at this same house that Bambatha proposed to his partner last year with the blessing of his grandmother.

He said Madikizela-Mandela didn’t want to move out of Soweto because she wanted to be close to her people. 

“Big Mommy would have have left Soweto but chose not to. She wanted to live among the people she loved and cared for. She also said she didn’t want to wake up next to her enemies.”

The memorial continues. 

The Star