Thousands gather for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's memorial

American Civil Rights activist Jesse Jackson outside the home of Winnie Madikizela Mandela on Friday 13 April 2018

Thousands gather for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's memorial

Several thousand mourners have gathered at a stadium in Soweto for a memorial service for South Africa's anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who died on April 2 at the aged of 81.

Although 76-year-old Mary Zwane has an injured knee and Mrs Evelyn Matshepo is on crutches, both women were determined to remember Winnie Madikizela Mandela at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.

Not everyone attending the memorial service today knew Madikizela-Mandela personally.

The death of Madikizela-Mandela, often called the "Mother of the Nation", has triggered widespread soul-searching over the legacy of one of the nation's most important fighters against the previous regime of racial discrimination.

Her great-grandchildren were also among the family members who paid tributes at the memorial service.

Deputy President David Mabuza said Madikizela-Mandela was a unifier who became a face of the struggles faced by black women all the world.

Former wife of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, waves as she attends the 54th ANC National Conference at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

"Even at the darkest moments of our struggle for liberation, Mam' Winnie was an abiding symbol of the desire of our people to be free", Ramaphosa said in a statement.

He said together with others, they had lunch at the struggle stalwart's Orlando home in Soweto on Sunday, just a day before she died at Milpark Hospital. The IMC comprises of all relevant stakeholders including the bereaved family of Mama Madikizela-Mandela.

A leftist party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), was holding is own memorial in the town of Brandfort in the Free State province, to where she was banned for a decade by the apartheid government in the 1970s and 1980s. "She was also our mother", she added.

While Nelson Mandela was in jail for 27 years, she kept his memory alive throughout by protesting and mobilizing activists to fight apartheid.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC), with which Madikizela-Mandela had a rocky relationship over the years, has held memorial events across the country, including today's ceremony and an official funeral scheduled on Saturday.

HAND IN HAND-In this file photo dated February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie walk hand in hand, raising their clenched fists upon his release from Victor prison, Cape Town, 27 years in detention.

"She told me I used to drag my grandfather downstairs to the bathroom saying to him there were guns in there, and when opened, there were in fact guns in there", Bambatha said. Click any of these buttons below!

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