Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had an early birthday bash at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town last night.
Struggle icon – and former president Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife – Winnie will turn 80 on 26 September.
According to a report on Timeslive, politicians, family and friends came out to celebrate with her. Dignitaries included Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, First lady Bongi Ngema-Zuma, Winnie’s daughter Zindzi Mandela, EFF leaders Julius Malema and Dali Mpofu, and Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.
In his speech, to great applause Ramaphosa said: “As much as Julius Malema and I disagree on many things, we agree on mam uWinnie Mandela's lasting beauty.
“Mama, thank you for bringing – as you have always done – various people together. Bringing Patricia de Lille‚ myself and other members of the ANC, as well as Julius and Dali Mpofu together ... wow!
“You are indeed the mother of the nation. But you also have another attribute which is your enduring vitality.
Ramaphosa praised Madikizela-Mandela’s endurance through the trials of the struggle against apartheid and her many sacrifices.
“Mam uWinnie is not just any rock‚ she is a diamond‚ built to shine‚ built to last and built never to break. Winnie Mandela has helped to shape the history of South Africa‚” said Ramaphosa.
Madikizela-Mandela's daughter also took the podium to share some family moments. “My mother is a very keen gardener. I was two hours late for my wedding because my mother had to water the garden‚” Zindzi said. “But that is my mother: she loves to be surrounded by beautiful things and she loves to make beautiful things grow‚ it's just her nature.”
There will be a tribute concert for Madikizela-Mandela in Cape Town today.