Women of Qunu mourn the death of their hero

2013-12-07 14:57

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The chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Museum, Nokuzola Yokwana, has paid a moving tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Yokwana was speaking during the lighting of the flame at Qunu’s Nelson Mandela Museum, which is a stone’s throw from his home.

Yokwana said the flame would keep burning until Mandela was buried in Qunu next Sunday.

She said it was Madiba who had sent her to study overseas and she had come back to lead the institution.

“I studied through the Nelson Mandela Museum scholarship. Tata Madiba is the one who educated me. It gives me pleasure to talk about a person I knew, a giant among many,” she said.

Dignitaries included the CEO of the museum, Bayanda Nyengule, Qunu chief Nokwanele Balizulu, and Nozolile Mtirara, the wife of Madiba’s childhood friend.

Today's event started with the singing of Lizalise idinga lakho (God of truth fulfil your promise) with ANC flags held high.

“The flame should be a light to the family and to those who loved him,” said Yokwana.

She said Madiba was a shining light of the world who had put Qunu on the world map.

“We are in pain, we have lost a hero, a beacon of hope, a leader. My heart is bleeding. I feel like crying, he was a father, he was everything to us,” she said.

She said Mandela had now joined the bigger angels and ancestors who had gone before him like Albert Luthuli, OR Tambo and Walter Sisulu.

“We must remember him for his strength. He was raised from suffering and preached peace without holding any grudges,” she said, adding “it was like having Jesus delivered before our time”.

She said the museum was founded on Madiba’s legacy and he was a champion of human rights.

“Rest in peace, we love you, Tata,” she said.

Nozolile Mtirara, the wife of Madiba’s childhood friend, Justice Mtirara, said the late icon had taken good care of her and her family and Mqhekezweni where he grew up.

“In Mqhekezweni, he built a school and roads. The great place where he stayed with my husband, Justice, is now a better place because he built us houses,” she said.

“He was a parent and father, he looked after all of us at Mqhekezweni and elsewhere,” she said

“We are grateful that God has spared him from pain and suffering, now he is at peace.”

Balizulu said it was painful to lose a leader like Mandela who was the father of the nation.

“We thank you for your selflessness, Tata, we love you and you will always be our hero,” she said.

Laura Mpahlwa, mother of former trade and industry minister Mandisi Mpahlwa, said Madiba was a symbol of honesty.

She said today’s leaders should emulate him and not hold onto power for too long.

“We must work for the good that Mandela stood for and for which he was prepared to die,” Mpahlwa said.

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