President Hage Geingob and Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa will travel to South Africa to attend the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the heroine of the anti-apartheid struggle.
Confirming this arrangements to New Era yesterday, Shaningwa said she will be representing the ruling party while Geingob will be representing the country.
Madikizela-Mandela died on the April 2, aged 81, at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.
Known as “the mother of the nation”, the ex-wife of the former South African president Nelson Mandela died after a long illness due to which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year.
She succumbed peacefully surrounded by her family and loved ones‚ the family said in an official statement.
Madikizela-Mandela’s Namibian friend Udo Froese, who was her spokesperson for eight years, yesterday said the burial will be held this Saturday at a cemetery in Fourways, north of Johannesburg.
News24 reported that the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on state funerals led by the Minister in the Presidency, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma met last Friday in preparation of the events.
Spokesperson Phumla Williams said a media briefing was to be held late yesterday to brief the nation on the logistical details of the memorial service.
Speaking to New Era upon the news her death, Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) Secretary General, Eunice Ipinge described the late Madikizela-Mandela as a freedom fighter, a voice of defiance and resistance and a champion of justice and equality, who dedicated her life to democracy and to free South Africa and other African countries from oppression.
“As Swapo Party Women’s Council we share the same sorrow with the sister party (South Africa’s ruling ANC) and South Africa in general for the loss of the liberation freedom fighter who dedicated her life for the liberation of her country and other African countries,” Ipinge said.
Ipinge said the last time she met Madikizela-Mandela was in 2002 when she visited Namibia at the invitation of the SPWC.
Also joining the rest of the world in paying tribute to Madikizela-Mandela yesterday was Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi.
“We join our South African colleagues in paying tribute to this courageous woman who joined the ranks of many other freedom fighters both here and in South Africa, who defied and rejected the oppressive apartheid system till the very end,” he said.