Ageless Mam' Winnie celebrates her 80th birthday

By Gabisile Ngcobo
17 September 2016

She looked effortlessly elegant despite having to use one crutch, after undergoing back surgery earlier this year.

Eighty years and still looking gorgeous!

This is the sentiment shared by many when Mam’ Winnie Madikizela-Mandela emerged in her figure-hugging white and blue gown with a Xhosa touch yesterday to celebrate her upcoming 80th bash.

Winnie turns 80 on September 26, 2016.

The dinner at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town was a joyous occasion as she was surrounded by her family and comrades.

And to celebrate her special moment with her were Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, her daughter Zindzi Mandela‚ the EFF's Malema and Dali Mpofu‚ Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.

President Jacob Zuma was not on the guest list but the first lady Bongi Ngema-Zuma represented him. “Much as Julius Malema and I disagree on many things we agree on Mam’ uWinnie Mandela's lasting beauty‚” Ramaphosa said‚ and the dining area roared with laughter.

"The official record tells us that Mama Winnie is turning 80," Ramaphosa said.

"Her irresistible presence, lasting beauty and enduring vitality suggests to us that she is much younger."

He likened her to a diamond; built to last a lifetime and never to break.

"When the apartheid police came for her, she remained stoic in her determination to claim justice for her people."

He applauded her for remaining a symbol of strength for the many women who had lost their husbands to the liberation struggle.

"Enduring the worst in the times of oppression she ensured that the people would not lose heart."

"Regardless of her own pain, she ensured that the children and families of liberation were clothed and fed."

He told guest that Mam' Winnie fought to ensure that Madiba would never be forgotten. "That his name would remain in the hearts and minds of the oppressed people of the world," he added.

Mam’ Winnie’s daughter Zindzi Mandela took to the podium and shared the love she has for her mom.

“I want to say, I can’t imagine what I would have been without you. You held me up and gave me hope even when you knew tomorrow would be dreary.”

Zindzi also said she was grateful to you for some of my genes she got from her mom.

“You are the most amazing woman and I am so humbled and honoured to be your daughter.”

And Mam’ Winnie teased Julius during her thank you speech and said: “I hope now you will stop asking that people must bring things back”.

She also told the guests that she guests that when she “gets well”‚ she plans to lead a campaign for the widows and orphans of Marikana.

Speaking to Sunday Times a few weeks ago, she didn't take credit for her ageless beauty and told the journalist that it was out of her hands.

"How would I judge myself?" she asked the journalist.

"I could not know the secret that lies in my own beauty. There is no intentional effort on my part to look younger than my peers. It has to do with my genes," she quipped. "When my father passed on he still had pitch-black hair and this was at 75. Not one single grey hair. He had 11 children and still at the age he died [was] as straight as a telephone pole."

Sources: Twitter, TimesLive, IOL, Sunday Times; Presidency

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