There was a rare outbreak of peace among South Africa’s political elite last night as they come together to celebrate the 80th birthday of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
The ex-wife of South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela, dubbed “the mother of the nation”, welcomed guests from all sides of the political spectrum for a lavish party at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town.
Opposition leader Julius Malema, whose Economic Freedom Fighters party has fought bitterly against the governing African National Congress, was even pictured (see below) holding hands with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in a rare show of unity.
Employing some diplomatic understatement given the brawls that have broken out in parliament in recent months, the deputy president thanked Mrs Madikizela-Mandela – in comments carried by local ENCA news:
Mama, thank you for bringing… people together. Even people who may disagree a little bit here or there from time to time. Bringing Patricia de Lille, myself and others in the ANC and Julius and Dali, wow. You are indeed the mother of the nation.”
#WinnieMandela has been trending across South Africa, with many people astonished at how young she looks for her age: