South Africa's anti-apartheid heroine Winnie Mandela to be laid to rest

South Africa's anti-apartheid heroine Winnie Mandela to be laid to rest

Madikizela-Mandela was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, including the 27 years he was imprisoned on an island near Cape Town.

A joyful and tearful crowd listened, sang and danced to prayers, tributes and the anthems that sustained those fighting for freedom in South Africa through decades of repression.

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

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called her an "international symbol of resistance" whose extraordinary life had an impact on millions of people around the world. "But she touched our wounds all the time", said Ramaphosa. "She made this a global struggle‚" said Jackson. "Loudly and with out apology, she spoke reality to energy".

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 was our conscience".

While once she was shunned by South Africa's political elite, including her own party the ANC, in death she has been nearly universally lauded.

Campbell said Madikizela-Mandela always stood tall and venerated the anti-apartheid leader for not leaving her people in Soweto.

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.

Among the bouquets piled outside its gate, a new memorial bears the legend "I am the product of the masses, of my country and the product of my enemy", a 1996 quote attributed to Madikizela-Mandela. She was a lovely woman. "The contest has been shrill and depressing in equal measure", wrote Palesa Morudu, a publisher and writer, last week.

"In a way we feel orphaned but their legacy lives on", said the gym worker who had taken time off to visit Winnie Mandela's home.

"You said we must go back to the ANC".

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 further implored Madikizela-Mandela's supporters not to be tempted to discount her father‚ Nelson Mandela‚ and that people should accept that they complimented each other. Her courage and defiance brought her a huge personal following.

Malema said despite his grief at the loss‚ he was comforted in the way she died‚ adding that she did not sell out her people.

"I appreciate many things about her". 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.

The end of apartheid marked the start of a string of legal and political troubles.

On the eve of the funeral, Winnie Mandela's body was transferred from a funeral parlour to lie in state at her Soweto home.

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