Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Medical | By Vernon Walton

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela dies - 'Mother of South Africa'

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela dies - 'Mother of South Africa'

African National Congress (ANC) supporters arrive at a memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg's Soweto township, South Africa on April 11, 2018.

Her grandson Bambatha Mandela described Winnie, who died on April 2 after a long illness, as "an extraordinary woman, a mother, a soldier, a fighter".

While Nelson Mandela was in jail for 27 years, she kept his memory alive throughout by protesting and mobilizing activists to fight apartheid. "You are an embodiment of our struggle", Deputy President David Mabuza said Wednesday at the official memorial service.

"I used to ask her "Makhulu why don't you get a house near us or even stay for us for a few days" if my mother was away and she would say: "Darling‚ I don't think I would be able to sleep and if I do‚ I don't want to wake up next to my enemies"‚" said Bambatha.

Mourners at the Orlando stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg sang and danced to celebrate the life of their heroine.

Many at the 40,000-seat stadium wore T-shirts bearing Ms Mandikizela-Mandela's image.

After Mr Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, Ms Madikizela-Mandela embraced her own leadership in the freedom struggle with steely determination and at great personal sacrifice.

"Memorial and prayer services have been held around the country to honour and pay respect to the struggle icon".

Malema, who had close relations with Madikizela-Mandela, had earlier told a group gathered outside her Soweto home, that South Africa failed Madikizela-Mandela.

The charismatic master of ceremonies cried "Long live the fighting spirit of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela", and "Viva Soweto!" to spirited chanting from the crowd. "I don't know where South Africa would be without her - no one can fill her space".

Madikizela-Mandela had two children with former president Nelson Mandela.

For years, she was routinely harassed by apartheid-state security forces, imprisoned and tortured.

Glamorous and tough, she played a high-profile role in the battle to end repressive white-minority rule.

"But there would not have been a Nelson Mandela without Winnie Mandela".

The Mandelas separated in 1992 and divorced four years later, after a legal wrangle that revealed she had had an affair with a young bodyguard.

Furthermore, government has since established an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) led by the Minister in The Presidency, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to oversee all the necessary logistical arrangements for both the Memorial and Funeral Services of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

One woman from the area said that she is who she is because of Madikizela-Mandela. Click any of these buttons below!

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