Almost a thousand black mourners jammed a town hall Tuesday to sing and pray for a 6-month-old girl allegedly killed by a white farmer, a case that revived bitterness from South Africa's apartheid past.
Outside the funeral, a small band of black youths danced and shouted, "Farmer, farmer, bullet, bullet," a longtime anti-apartheid chant.The tiny white coffin of Angelina Zwane, no more than 2 feet long and topped with yellow and white chrysanthemums, sat at the front of Benoni Town Hall.
Zwane was shot to death last week while being carried across a field on her cousin's back. The cousin remains hospitalized, and Nicholas Steyn, 42, who allegedly fired the shot, has been charged with murder and attempted murder.
Hundreds of people, virtually all of them black, filled the town hall with funeral songs and cheered loudly when Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of President Nelson Mandela, entered and raised her fist in the traditional anti-apartheid salute.
She described Steyn as a gun-toting racist who shouted that he didn't want any more "kaffirs" - a derogatory term for blacks - on his land.
But Madikizela-Mandela also said white shop owners had stopped her and given her donations for the Zwane family. She concluded by saying: "No one should do anything to the Steyn family. The law will take its course."
In another sign of change, a speaker from the white-led National Party that ruled during apartheid received a polite reception and applause.
"The death of this child may be the beginning of the process of reconciliation between all our people that will break the cycle of violence," said Sam de Beer, an apartheid Cabinet minister who now heads the National Party in the Johannesburg-Pretoria region.
Steyn's stepmother had joined Zwane's family at their shack earlier, before a procession brought the coffin to the town hall. Eugean Steyn, 64, attended as a gesture of reconciliation at Mandela's request, said African National Congress spokesman Des Fortuin.
Mandela also asked Steyn's family to give money to Zwane's family, Fortuin said. They responded that they were poor and could not afford to do so.