Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's official memorial service

Joann Johnston
April 14, 2018

Her grandson Bambatha Mandela on Wednesday described Winnie, who died on April 2 after a long illness, as "an extraordinary woman, a mother, a soldier, a fighter". "I had the privilege of being the first grandchild they could raise after (Nelson) returned from prison".

He was speaking outside Madikizela-Mandela's home in Orlando‚ Johannesburg‚ ahead of the arrival of her body. "She was a member of a generation of leaders who survived the most brutal period of state terror in apartheid South Africa and she was a friend of the foundation".

Most donned in ANC regalia.

"We didn't understand at the time but we later understood she was referring to [Nelson] Mandela being sought by the police‚" Madikizela said. She took the slayings‚ so by her heart and her strikes we are healed. Thousands of mourners arrived to celebrate the life of Madikizela-Mandela.

As evidence emerged in the dying years of apartheid of the brutality of her Soweto enforcers, known as the "Mandela United Football Club", some South Africans questioned her "Mother of the Nation" soubriquet. "You are a torch-bearer of our liberation".

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On video: Cape Town remembers Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Yes, she was a freedom fighter, but she also did some really bad things, too. Graca Machel (top right), widow of former president Nelson Mandela, attends the service.

"She was very generous".

Deputy President David Mabuza said that many South Africans were left "weeping" after learning of her death.

For Mohammed, she was and would remain a "force multiplier".

ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte told Winnie's critics to "sit down and shut up" during her speech to the crowd. "But also blessed to have Mama Winnie as our matriarch". The Mandelas separated in 1992 and divorced four years later.

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