Winnie Mandela funeral: South Africa bids farewell to 'mother of the nation'

Nelson Mandela with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on their wedding day

Nelson Mandela with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on their wedding day

Typically referred to as the "Mom of the Nation" and "Mama Winnie", Madikizela-Mandela fought to maintain South Africa's anti-apartheid wrestle within the worldwide highlight whereas her husband, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned.

Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's coffin is carried into Orlando Stadium, on 14 April 2018.

Dlamini-Mandela accused the media of being complicit in a long "smear campaign" against her mother.

Also in attendance of Winnie's funeral was the civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. "She cherished freedom as much as she treasured family".

Madikizela-Mandela was later jailed in 1969 for months and placed under house arrest for years over her activism against the apartheid regime.

The ANC's current president Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the country's president, the ANC Women's League, and the UDF were just some of those Malema targeted.

She struggled with a cough through the first part of her speech, with her daughter Swati Dlamini-Mandela, who also delivered Madikizela-Mandela's obituary, taking over and reading the first few paragraphs in which Mandela expressed her gratitude to the outpouring of commiserations the family received. "She was an exceptional woman, she was fearless".

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Thousands of mourners had gathered Wednesday for a public memorial in Soweto, where Madikizela-Mandel lived for decades.

Thousands of mourners have packed a 40,000-seat stadium to bid farewell to the powerful figure who will be buried as a national hero, after lively debate over how she should be remembered. Others wore T-shirts emblazoned with an image of Madikizela-Mandel. "I know that Julius will come with me so that we can heal the wounds of those in Marikana", he said.

The couple ended the 38 years of marriage in 1996 after which she adopted the surname "Madikizela-Mandela". "She never left the belly of the beast". Mandela, South Africa's first black president, fired her as one in every of his deputy ministers. When Madikizela-Mandela returned from exile she became involved with a group of young men known as the Mandela United Football Club, who were widely blamed for violence in Soweto. She will still be the voice of the people.

"Even at the darkest moments of our struggle for liberation, Mam' Winnie was an abiding symbol of the desire of our people to be free", Ramaphosa said in a statement. "In the face of exploitation, she was a champion of justice and equality".

Zezani said her family has been comforted and shielded by the love people have showed them.

"Mama never depended on anyone but the members of the MKMVA zone 11 her zone for close protection, because she did not believe in getting an outsider to protect her".

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