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Thousands Of Mourners Bid Winnie Mandela Farewell

14 April 2018, 08:16 | Myrtle Vega

ANC elections chief Fikile Mbalula speaks at the funeral service

ANC elections chief Fikile Mbalula speaks at the funeral service

Often called the "Mother of the Nation" and "Mama Winnie", Madikizela-Mandela fought to keep South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle in the global spotlight while her husband, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned.

"Equally big Mama, some of those who sold you to the regime are here and are crying louder than all of us who stood by you".

Malema was speaking in refernce to a press conference held by the United Democratic Front in 1989, where it disassociated itself with Madikizela-Mandela.

Those who notice such things would have realized that her 2013 book, 491 Days-which tells the story of the brutality she experienced at the hands of the Apartheid state, the depths of her despair and her extraordinary resilience and defiance under extreme pressure-was already an invitation for a deep re-evaluation of her life.

Most of her 38-year marriage to Nelson was spent apart, leaving her to raise their two daughters alone as she kept his political dream alive. Not long after, she met African National Congress activist Mandela and the couple married in 1958, forming one of the most storied unions of the century.

"She represents a fighting spirit because even though she lived through the apartheid era, she never gave up", 20-year old college student Gift Mokale said.

While their marriage withstood the battle against apartheid, it couldn't withstand the pressure of freedom.

Former South African Presidents Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki are also attending the funeral.

Ramaphosa described her as "an advocate for the dispossessed and the marginalized" and "a voice for the voiceless".

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Hundreds of mourners sang "there's no-one like Winnie", an adapted popular liberation struggle song. "In the midst of repression, she was a voice of defiance and resistance".

Born in 1936 in what is now known as Eastern Cape province, Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela was the daughter of a history teacher.

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

"She is truly the mother of South Africa", Jackson told journalists on Friday.

An MK Military Veterans Association member who asked to remain anonymous said: "Apart from her being an icon, she was also the MKMVA zone 11 Johannesburg region ex-official". She was also always called upon for political advice.

In 1991, a court docket discovered Madikizela-Mandela responsible of the boy's kidnapping and assault and sentenced her to 6 years in jail.

Although she fought fiercely for democracy, Madikizela-Mandela floundered in a political profession after the primary free elections in 1994.

CNN's Eleni Giokos reported from Soweto, while Faith Karimi wrote from Atlanta, and Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London.



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