Daughters of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Zindzi Mandela and Zenani Dlamini Mandela, speak at their mother's funeral in Orlando stadium in Soweto

DURBAN - Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s eldest daughter Princess Zenani Dlamini slammed her mother's critics in a fiery speech which started with her coughing up, before finishing off her speech.

Zenani thanked the public for the support they had shown the family since her passing last week. She said though she was mourning her mother’s loss, she was also celebrating her long life as a freedom fighter. 

She then laid into her mother’s critics, whom she said had not reserved the same criticism when male leaders had passed on. Zenani said South Africa's struggle for liberation was not only a man's struggle and said one could be forgiven for thinking it was. 

Here are some fiery quotes from Zenani’s speech at the Orlando Stadium.

Winnie Mandela and her husband Nelson Mandela with raised their fists at the Grand Parade after the release of Mandiba from the Victor Verster prison in 1990. Independent Archives /Brenton Geach.
  1. NELSON vs WINNIE: “Every generation is gifted one or two people who shine as brightly as the brightest stars. My sister and I are doubly lucky, in that we got to call Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela our mother and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, our father. Unlike many of those who imagine a contested legacy between my father and my mother, we do not have the luxury of such a choice. The two of them were our parents. And all we ask is: no matter how tempting it may be to compare and contrast them, just know that sometimes it is enough to contemplate two historical figures and accept that they complemented each other, far more than any popular narrative might suggest”.

  2. WINNIE vs APARTHEID: “(Winnie) She dared to take on one of the most powerful and evil regimes of the past century, and she triumphed. For those who have not had the time or the courage to go beyond the quick headlines or the rushed profiles, I urge you to search the archives so that you may fully appreciate who my mother really was, and why her life and story matters so much”.

  3. WINNIE LIVES ON: “As a family we have watched in awe as young women stood up and took a stand of deep solidarity with my mother. I know that she would be very proud of each of you, and grateful for your acts of personal courage: for joining hands in the #IAmWinnie movement, wearing your doeks and bravely mounting a narrative that counters the one that had become, to our profound dismay, my mother’s public story over the last twenty-five years of her life. Like her, you showed that we can be beautiful, powerful and revolutionary — even as we challenge the lies that have been peddled for so long”.

  4. ON WINNIE BEING VILIFIED: “And to those who’ve vilified my mother through books, on social media and speeches, don't for a minute think we've forgotten. The pain you inflicted on her lives on in us. Praising her now that she's gone shows what hypocrites you are. Why didn’t you do the same to any of her male counterparts and remind the world of the many crimes they committed before they were called saints”.

  5. ON PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY: “Over the past week and a half it’s become clear that South Africa, and indeed the world, holds men and women to different standards of morality. Much of what my mother has been constantly asked to account for is simply ignored when it comes to her male counterparts. And this kind of double standard acts also to obscure the immense contribution of women to the fight for the emancipation of our country from the evil of Apartheid. I say ‘fight’ because the battle for our freedom was not some polite picnic at which you arrived armed with your best behaviour”.

    Cape Town - 180410 - Murals of Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela adorn the walls along Longmarket St in the Cape Town CBD. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA

  6. ON BEING MOTHER OF THE NATION: “She made the choice that she would raise two families: her personal family and the larger family that was her beloved country. And to her there was no contradiction in this choice, because she cherished freedom as much as she treasured her family. She was not prepared to choose between the two. She believed it was her calling to defend and protect both from the constant assaults by the Apartheid State”.

  7. ON KEEPING MANDELA NAME ALIVE: “I truly believe that it is worth repeating that long before it was fashionable to call for Nelson Mandela’s release from Robben Island, it was my mother who kept his memory alive. She kept his name on the lips of the people. Her very appearance — regal, confident, and stylish — angered the Apartheid authorities and galvanized the people. She kept my father’s memory in the people’s hearts. For those who have wondered, let me assure you that even at the height of her activism, my mother always found a way to let me and my sister know that we were the most special people in her life. When we could not be with her, she wrote letters to us. When we were with her, she did not even have to say anything: her love for us was written on her face. But because she had such a big heart, my mother could also love the community where she lived, no matter where that was. So that when she was banished to Brandfort, she immersed herself in the affairs of this little community and improved the lives of the people, who, in turn, received her with so much love”.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE