Female politicians and civic activists in Zimbabwe are organising a memorial service for the late South African struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Mandela‚ who died in Johannesburg at the age of 81 on Monday‚ touched many lives beyond South Africa as a model civil rights defender during the apartheid era while her husband‚ Nelson Mandela‚ was imprisoned on Robben Island.
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga‚ the Zimbabwe Parliament’s chairwoman for women and youth affairs‚ on Tuesday approached the South African embassy in Harare to facilitate dialogue with the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL).
“We are planning a memorial service as feminists and activists. So far we have spoken to the South African embassy because we want some members of the ANC’s Women’s League to come and speak about her life‚” she said.
There are numerous activities to be held before Madikizela-Mandela is laid to rest on April 14. Hence Zimbabwean women realise that they can only have the memorial service after the burial.
“I can safely say the memorial service will be after the burial‚” she added.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga added that she will also push the government of Zimbabwe to fund women parliamentarians to attend Madikizela-Mandela’s burial.
“We are currently engaging Parliament to release resources to female leaders in Parliament‚ to attend the burial service in South Africa‚” she said.
Meanwhile‚ the African Union (AU) led condolence messages saying Madikizela-Mandela‚ a 2017 AU Commission chairperson lifetime achievement award winner‚ would be remembered for immense sacrifices.
“Winnie Madikizela-Mandela paved the way for women in the struggle to end apartheid and fought relentlessly for their rights and welfare in her country‚” AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said in a statement.
Other messages came from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.