15 December 2013

South Africa: Winnie Makes Playful Dig at Zuma

Qunu — Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's sombre mood lifted for a moment when a joke was made about a faux pas by President Jacob Zuma, at Nelson Mandela's state funeral in Qunu on Sunday.

After Malawian President Joyce Banda spoke, African National Congress deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa thanked her, reiterating that she was from "Malawi. Yes, Malawi".

At this, the audience laughed and some waved ANC flags.

In October, Zuma unfavourably compared Malawi's national roads with those of South Africa while trying to justify the Gauteng e-tolling system.

Madikizela-Mandela smiled and playfully poked Zuma in the side as he sat next to her. He chuckled.

Ramaphosa told the audience there was a running joke in the ANC: "President, you don't say Malawi. Deputy President, you don't say boers."

At the time of the gaffe, Zuma told a Gauteng ANC manifesto forum: "We can't think like Africans, in Africa, generally. We are in Johannesburg, this is Johannesburg. It's not some national road in Malawi."

Ramaphosa was berated when, in November, he told Limpopo residents to vote or else the "boers" would take over power. He later claimed the term had been misunderstood.

US television personality Oprah Winfrey, her partner Stedman Graham and business mogul Richard Branson were seen seated together at the funeral service.

The audience applauded and cheered throughout an address by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, as he recounted the two countries' links throughout the anti-apartheid struggle. He recounted details of Mandela's visit to the country.

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