Winnie Mandela funeral underway in SA

Winnie and Nelson Mandela

Winnie and Nelson Mandela

Though Winnie Mandela's life met its unfortunate end on April 2nd 2018 her spirit leaves on among the many she inspired.As the world mourns her death, many will remember her strength and poise even in the toughest of times.

The 40,000-seater stadium was full to capacity, with many mourners clad in the green and yellow colors of the ANC. The following year, she was appointed deputy Prime Minister of arts, culture, science and technology in Mandela's unity government but she was later fired after allegations of corruption emerged. Dlamini struggled to speak before giving a moving speech honouring the example her mother set for women. She put a mark on how strong women are in South Africa.

"I'm very grateful to be here today".

"Many people say Mama Winnie is the one who kept the fire burning when Nelson Mandela and others were still in jail".

Few outside of South African knew much about the ANC or Nelson Mandela or Robben Island where he was locked away out of sight.

Jacob Zitha, who lives on the same street as Madikizela-Mandela, brought his 11-year-old daughter, Nozipho, to the stadium so she "can see how we send off a hero".

Rev Jackson compared Madikizela-Mandela to great women in the Bible.

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Over the last week I spoke to scores of distraught South Africans in Soweto township, where Winnie Mandela lived before South Africa attained majority rule, and in Tembisa township.

Some ANC members started attempts to drown out Malema by booing and singing, but he continued and called on Soweto residents to never forget her name. 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.

"In apartheid South Africa, the combination of patriarchy and racism together meant that black women confronted enormous obstacles from the cradle to the grave - making her own achievements all the more exceptional", he said Friday at a memorial in NY, not mentioning Nelson Mandela at all.

While a sombre occasion, the mood was celebratory as mourners sang some of Mam' Winnie's favourite hymns and struggle songs.

Family members, President Cyril Ramaphosa and dignitaries walk beside the casket of the late stalwart, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as it is led out of Orlando stadium.

But her controversial reputation has been largely brushed aside in the wake of her death with tributes to her bravery, independence and integrity dominating public commemorations.

She remained popular among poor, black South African and the youth and was re-elected to parliament in 2007. In 1977, she was banished to a remote town. Against those odds, Winnie Mandela stood tall.

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