The birthday celebration of former freedom fighter Winnie Madikizela-Mandela saw what seemed to be the unification of political “enemies” EFF leader Julius Malema and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday.
The picture of Malema and Ramaphosa shaking hands with big smiles on their faces, with Madikizela-Mandela between them, really got people talking on social media. The legendary former anti-apartheid activist was celebrating her 80th birthday at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town.
It even had some people reminiscing about late reggae star Bob Marley’s historic One Love Peace Concert in which he united political rivals Michael Manley and Edward Seaga in 1978.
This is “pure magic”, said controversial ANC Youth League (ANCYL) member Mcebo Dlamini.
Malema and Ramaphosa’s enmity dates back to 2012 when Malema was expelled from the ANC by the party’s disciplinary committee, which was chaired by Ramaphosa. Since then, the two politicians from different generations of South African politics have never drunk from the same well.
The bad feelings were exacerbated when Ramaphosa was implicated in the Marikana massacre in which 44 people died, 34 of them killed by police on the 16th of August 2012. Ramaphosa in an email called for “concomitant action” to be taken against the striking workers at the platinum mine that employed them, Lonmin. This, the EFF believes, influenced the police officers to shoot and kill the miners. Ramaphosa, however, denied that his email was calling for the miners to be killed, and the commission of inquiry looking into the matter did not find a link between the massacre and the email.
Nevertheless, Malema has repeatedly called Ramaphosa a “murderer” of the Marikana workers.
At the event, the deputy president thanked Madikizela-Mandela for bringing them together.
“Mama, thank you for, as you’ve always done, bringing various 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,” said Ramaphosa.
Many people were also impressed by the continued beauty of the 80-year-old, for which she has always been known. One Twitter user went as far as jokingly calling her “a national key point”.
This is what others had to say on Twitter:
— Baps Mhlaba (@BapsMhlaba) September 15, 2016
— #ThisFlag Mujibha (@KuleVeZaka) September 15, 2016
— Isa Milanzi (@IsaMilz) September 15, 2016
— Poppy Mathobela (@PopMathobela) September 14, 2016
— Les (@LesNgobz) September 15, 2016