The heavens open as S Africans lay to rest Winnie Mandela

Amid an outpouring of emotion and heavy downpour, anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was laid to rest on Saturday.

Thousands of South Africans converged at Orlando Stadium in Soweto with a heavy heart and a prayer on their lips to pay their last respects to the ‘Mother of the Nation’.

During the five-and-a-half-hour funeral programme, a choir performed the national anthem and Madikizela-Mandela’s favourite hymns.

Many spoke including President Cyril Ramaphosa, Zenani Mandela-Dlamini and Zindzi Mandela, daughters of Madikizela-Mandela, and EFF leader Julius Malema.

Zenani said it was her mother who kept Nelson Mandela’s memory alive.

Praising her now that she is gone shows the hypocrisy of her critics.

Zenani said they robbed her mother of the rightful legacy during her lifetime, a legacy for taking on one of the most powerful and evil regimes of the past century to end white-minority rule.

EFF leader Julius Malema said those who sold ‘Mama’ out to the regime are at the funeral crying louder than those who cared for her.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said sorry for the country’s failure to honour her for her contribution to the liberation of the country.

It began to pour as Madikizela-Mandela’s body was taken to Fourways Memorial Park for burial. Braving the rain, mourners stood along the road as she started her final journey.

In African tradition, there is a belief that if it rains during a funeral‚ gods are welcoming the departed soul and the gates of heaven are open.

It was raining heavily during the memorial service of Nelson Mandela too in December 2013, a fitting farewell to the anti-apartheid icon.