Winnie too distraught for visitors

2013-12-06 14:03

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Nelson Mandela’s former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has turned away a group of people who marched to her Soweto home to pay their respects because she is too distraught to receive visitors.

The group, most of them wearing ANC T-shirts and other branded party clothes, stood outside Madikizela-Mandela’s Orlando home, singing “Thula mama thula” (Stop crying mama).

Their leader, Bobo Zwane, then asked the group to remove their hats, place their hands over their hearts and sing the national anthem.

Zwane then approached the bodyguards manning one of the locked steel gates to Madikizela-Mandela’s house.

He asked whether they could be allowed in to pray for her and offer their condolences in person.

The bodyguards went inside the house and returned with a woman they introduced as Madikizela-Mandela’s personal assistant, who told him that she was too distraught to see them.

“You can write your messages of condolence on a piece of paper and give them to me so I can forward it to her as she is not in the right frame of mind to see you. She is also preparing to go Houghton,” said the woman, who was clad in black.

Zwane took the message back to the crowd.

“Mama can’t meet us, comrades, but she appreciates the support that we have shown her,” he said.

Earlier, a bodyguard told City Press that Madikizela-Mandela could not speak to the media.

“She has been crying the whole night and she is definitely not well to speak to you guys,” he said.

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