Young & old gather to honour Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Mourners gather in Soweto for the memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Sunshine broke through a dense cloud cover over Soweto during multi-faith prayers, while outside the stadium a motorcycle club sporting African National Congress (ANC) colours arrived to pay their respects. "Her only preoccupation was to serve humanity in its totality", Mabuza said as he addressed mourners at the memorial service.

A 19-gun salute will mark the final farewell for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Fourways on Saturday‚ amid a tight security operation to ensure the burial and official funeral ceremonies are conducted with due decorum.

"Never forget the name of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, she worked hard for our freedom" - Anti-apartheid activist Rita Ndzanga.

"My spirit is hurt".

She said economic transformation was not for one group or another.

In this regard, Mama Madikizela-Mandela's funeral will have elements of both military and ceremonial honours. "I don't know where South Africa would be without her - no one can fill her space".

"She was the best we could have", said one of her young great-granddaughters to an ecstatic crowd response.

"The image she leaves with us is that of a defiant fist and the attractive smile she carried during the struggle period".

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Thabang Khoza, 19, told News24 he had made a decision to skip school to honour a woman he had never met but about whom he had heard from family members and at school. "As younger women, we watched as she was insulted and she is our heroine, she gave everything to us".

Speaking on behalf of women ambassadors, Senegalese Ambassador to South Africa, Safiatou Ndiaye, said Madikizela-Mandela was a leader for all women on the continent and the world.

Though she fought fiercely for democracy, the political career that Madikizela-Mandela embarked on after the first free elections in 1994 floundered.

"Winnie was our elder, and I was only 16 years old", reminisces a family friend of the late anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

"It is for all of us", she said.

Senior ANC leadership join in on the struggle song "Ibambeni webafana" as mourners honour Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Soweto on Wednesday.

"I come to Orlando Stadium to work every time there is an event here, including soccer matches".

She was also accused of running a mafia-style gang responsible for multiple murders and beatings in Soweto, and of endorsing "necklacing" - killing suspected informers with burning tires put over their heads. "She could have left the township.she could have chosen to go live in the suburbs but she chose to remain with the people [in Soweto].the people she fought for, loved and protected.it is the same people who still protect her legacy today".

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