You could have been fooled into thinking the joint singing of the EFF and ANC meant there was a promise of reuniting. But when the singing got hot and the stadium filled with colours of both parties, the competition heated up.

Members of the EFF made sure that their sea of red was visible throughout the chanting. At times it was the “reds” who led the song choice with the ANC members singing along. It was a sight to see as the reds joined the yellow and greens in the stands.

But they made sure that even as they sat among the ANC colours, their red was grouped together for all to see.

Fortunately, when a scuffle was about to break out in one of the corners of the stands, the police quickly got the situation under control before it could get out of hand.

A view from the top of the stadium would make one believe that everyone in it was dressed in the colours of the South African flag.

There was way too much booing in the red groups every time the names of the ANC leaders were announced.

They boos were even louder when former president Jacob Zuma’s name was announced.

It took a little while longer for programme director Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to calm them down.

When EFF leader Julius Malema took to the podium, he made it a point to let the reds know that any booing of President Cyril Ramaphosa was a show of disrespect to Mama Winnie.

Zondwa Mandela, Ma Winnie’s grandson, relayed the family’s praise name to much ululation.

He urged women and men to continue her legacy.

“The story lives on in all the women who wake up every day carving a life for themselves. I hope to tell the story of a hero of the people, she was one of us, she was one of you, she dared to continue when the entire world conspired against her and she stood tall.”

Mama Winnie’s sister Zukiswa Madikizela encouraged women of the world to help their communities in every way they can.

“In a society that constantly tells women no you can’t, you can.”

Zondwa added: “To be a hero you only need to be yourself, I hope you remember that she was herself, Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the daughter, Mother of the Nation. We celebrate and honour her.”

A particularly touching tribute came from Mama Winnie’s long-time friend and confidant Mrs Mokgobo, who described Mama Winnie’s contributions to social work as revolutionary.

“We owe you so much, your deep understanding of the need to revolutionise social work remains an imperative.

“You told us to free ourselves from the slave mentality and you taught us to be in the trenches with the people.”

British actress, singer and supermodel Naomi Campbell spoke about what Madikizela-Mandela meant to her. “She taught us not to be limited in our movements reminding us always to stay true to who we are.”

The mood at the stadium dropped after Malema’s fiery speech. Along with his party members leaving the stadium, the energy also seemed to exit the venue.

Another memorable speech was that of Madikezela-Mandela’s daughter Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, whose voice initially struggled to encompass the stadium but after a few moments and encouragement from the singing, she managed to find her voice.

“Why have they sat on the truth and waited for my mother’s death to tell it. Only they know why they chose to tell the truth when she departed.”

Her voice quivered as she told those who vilified her mother that they as a family would never forget.

The musical contributions spoke to the women that Mama Winnie was. Zonke sang her much-loved Viva and Thandiswa Mazwai gave a rendition of her popular Nizalwa Ngobani. Mam Dorothy Masuka got the audience going with Kauleza. 

The Sunday Independent