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South Africa to honour ‘Mother of the Nation’ Winnie Mandela with state funeral

April 03, 2018 at 06:59 am | News

Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei | Contributor

April 03, 2018 at 06:59 am | News

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 26, 2016 Africa National Congress stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela acknowledges a crowd of ANC Women League supporters gathered in Soweto to celebrate her 80th birthday. Former wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, has died, according to South African media on April 2, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARIMARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images

Anti-apartheid stalwart and South African icon Winnie Madikizela Mandela who died on Monday will be honoured with a state funeral, confirms South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Winnie Mandela leaves a huge legacy and, as we say in African culture, a gigantic tree has fallen … She has been one of the strongest women in our struggle, who suffered immensely under the apartheid regime, who was imprisoned, who was banished, who was treated very badly,” he said during a visit to her house in Soweto.

Ramaphosa also declared 10 days of national mourning for Winnie Madikizela Mandela and all South African flags to fly at half-mast during the period. The state funeral will be held on April 14 after an official memorial service on April 11, says the South African government in a statement.

Hundreds of mourners trooped to her house in Soweto after her death was announced on Monday and confirmed by family spokesman Victor Dlamini who said in a statement that she died after a long illness that kept her in and out of the hospital this year.

As the mourners at her house sung and danced to dirges, people around the world paid homage to the former wife of Nelson Mandela who fought with him while he was locked up in prison to end the apartheid regime.

“She was a strong and fearless voice in the struggle for equal rights and will be remembered as a symbol of resistance,” says the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Retired South African cleric and anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: “Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists.”

Below are several tributes to Winnie Mandela who is described as the “mother of the nation” by many South Africans.

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