'She never showed anger'

2001-12-09 22:06

Pretoria - "Women like Marike and I are often just a story for people to read about or to listen to. People don't understand who the private Marike was, a woman whose only company was that of a cat," Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said on Saturday.

She was on time for church and waited with her bodyguards for former President FW de Klerk in the foyer. Dressed all in black she asked in hushed tones whether the right man had indeed been caught and for an explanation about what had really happened.

She chose to attend Marike de Klerk's funeral above that of the ANC stalwart and former Defence Minister, Joe Modise.

De Klerk was murdered in her Table View, Cape Town, home last week.

Shortly after the ex-president arrived, she walked over to the family, put her arms around him and hugged him. He introduced her to his new wife, Elita and the two women also embraced each other.

Madikizela-Mandela then entered the church ahead of the De Klerk family and took a seat in the front on the same pew as former State President Marais Viljoen.

"I can identify with Marike," she said while waiting in the foyer.

Madikizela-Mandela said she was very glad to hear that the initial reports that De Klerk had committed suicide, were untrue.

"It would have taken away some of her dignity. It would have destroyed the inner person about whom we often wondered. She never showed anger, something that all of us do naturally."

After the service, Madikizela-Mandela said the murder was an indictment against the country and a sign that everyone should become involved in the fight against crime.

"It is a tragedy that a woman who contributed so much to shaping the history of this country, had to leave it in this manner. I would have wanted God to take her at his own time.

"Maybe it is God's way of making us aware of what is happening around us. The extent of the crime in our country has now been brought to everyone's attention. It does not matter what our standing in the community is or who we are, as South Africans and as government we should do something."