Mama Winnie's life's work of returning the land to the people non-negotiable - Duarte

Jessie Duarte addresses the media on Sunday. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)
Jessie Duarte addresses the media on Sunday. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's "life's work of returning the land to the people is non-negotiable", ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said.

She was speaking at an official memorial service held for Madikizela-Mandela at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday, after the struggle stalwart died on April 2.

Duarte said Madikizela-Mandela never betrayed the revolution and up to her last day, she wanted a united ANC.

How she was vilified by lies emerged since her death, Duarte continued.

READ: Winnie an indestructible rock against apartheid - Mabuza

But, the deputy secretary general had a message for Madikizela-Mandela's detractors "with unforgiving hearts": "Sit down and shut up. This is our hero. This is our heroine. She gave everything to us," she said.

"Comrade Winnie Mandela loved the African National Congress, she made it her life."

She said Madikizela-Mandela never turned a child away and also did not abandon her own family.

"Mama Mandela was very methodical. There were times when she taught us to learn to talk and shoot at the same time," she said.

She added that, when the armed struggle was over, Madikizela-Mandela told them to speak about peace to the people, but to also remember that the enemy shoots with real bullets. 

Turning to current-day issues, Duarte said: "Her life's work of returning the land to the people is non-negotiable. It must happen. It will happen."

READ: Mama Winnie was 'indeed a saint' – Buthelezi

She said the same about free education, which was also an issue Madikizela-Mandela fought for.

"Radical economic transformation is here to stay," Duarte continued. 

"All people of South Africa – black and white – need to work together."

She said economic transformation was not for one group or another.

"It is for all of us," she said.

"With our doeks, we will emancipate all the women of this country."

Azapo's Strike Thokoane and the PAC's Narius Moloto also spoke and both mentioned Madikizela-Mandela's commitment to land reform.

Thokoane said they wanted land, and minerals, nationalised.

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