NASA leader Raila Odinga yesterday joined world leaders and South Africans in bidding farewell to the late African icon Winnie Madikizela Mandela in Soweto, South Africa.
Accompanied by his wife Ida Odinga, the Orange Democracy Movement leader was representing the Kenyan State and the people of Kenya, according to a statement released by his advisor Silas Jakakimba.
On arrival in South Africa, the former Prime Minister was received by the Kenyan High Commission, led by Ambassador Jean Kamau.
Photos of Raila hugging and sharing pleasantries with top ranking South Africa government officials made rounds on social media yesterday.
His flight to South Africa came just a day after he paid retired President Daniel arap Moi a visit at his Kabarak home, a social call that has caused quite some murmurs.
“As we bury Winnie, it is our hope that her death will resurrect in all African countries the purpose of the struggles that we have waged at different times but often with the same goal of bequeathing freedom, dignity and economic empowerment to our people,” Raila tweeted from the ceremony.
He reiterated that the late Mama Africa will remain in eternal memory of those who watched her struggles and experiences dispassionately and from a distance.
“She gave South Africa her all, gained much in terms of bringing freedom to her people, and lost so much at a personal level in the process,” said Raila.
He went on, “Her place in history is cast in stone here in the land of many heroes and victims and among the human race in general.”
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In representing the government and people of Kenya, Raila thanked South Africa and the Africa National Congress (ANC) for giving us Winnie Mandela and standing with her to date.
“Africa needs many more Winnie Mandelas,” said Raila.
At the Orlando Stadium event, Raila met Deputy President David Mabuza, International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, Paulino José Macaringue, Jesse Jackson and a host of other dignitaries.