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

Thousands gathered inside the Orlando Stadium for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral on 14 April 2018

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

On his part, Geingob said he had come to mourn and celebrate the life of Madikizela-Mandela, who remained rooted in her people.

Mourners filled the 37,500-seater Orlando Stadium in the township of Soweto where Winnie lived and erupted into loud cheers as the casket carrying her remains was wheeled in. "Only they know why they chose to share the truth with the world after she departed", Mrs Mandela-Dlamini said.

He said the family felt honoured by the heads of state - Denis Sassou Nguesso, president of the Republic of Congo, and Namibian president Hage Geingob - who attended the service and delivered speeches.

"The Anti-apartheid regime has been misinterpreted to mean it was a man's triumph but we want to remind the world that it was not a man's struggle and triumph, she rose against a might of a nuclear state to bring peace to South Africa", she said. "May her spirit live forever", he said.

"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 at a memorial in NY on Friday, not mentioning Nelson Mandela at all. He apologised for only belatedly recognising her contribution. Since apartheid ended in the 1990s, she served in several government roles, including as a member of parliament and leader of the ruling party's women's league. She grew to become involved with a band of men after Madikizela-Mandela returned in exile. "For those who have not had the time or the courage to go beyond the quick headlines or the rushed profiles, I urge you to search the archives so that you may fully appreciate who my mother really was, and why her life and story matters so much".

They were married for a total of 38 years but for nearly three decades of that time, they were separated by Mr Mandela's long imprisonment.

In the clip, Madikizela-Mandela claims that 40 journalists were helping Stratcom with their smear campaign against her.

Madikizela-Mandela was largely remembered for defiantly standing up to the apartheid government and relentlessly pushing the ANC's struggle for freedom.

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Winnie, a former wife of late Nelson Mandela, died on April 2 in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the age of 81.

Madikizela-Mandela had been left to tend to her own pain alone, the president added.

Ramaphosa described her as "an advocate for the dispossessed and the marginalized" and "a voice for the voiceless". She was always striving for equality, and to keep South Africa at the forefront of people's thoughts.

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

Malema said that her book would be written in the "eternal book of life", in reference to a symbolic book of political figures and activists who died "for the betterment of all".

She led an worldwide campaign calling for his release.

President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke of Mam" Winnie as an "enduring woman', who despite everything that she faced, she carried on.

For many South Africans, the most memorable image of Madikizela-Mandela is of her punching the air in a clenched-fist salute as she walked hand-in-hand with Mandela out of Victor Verster prison, near Cape Town, on February 11, 1990.

"She never stopped fighting".

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