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.
I’m deeply saddened by the news of the death of Winnie Mandela. Her name will echo down the ages, and will forever be remembered as a freedom fighter and a remarkable woman. Rest in perfect peace “Mama Wetu.” You’ve earned it.
— Nana Akufo-Addo (@NAkufoAddo) April 3, 2018
A woman who epitomized how the power of a woman’s love, intelligence and vision can change a culture. RIP Winnie Mandela ❤ pic.twitter.com/axAeS7re3u
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) April 2, 2018
Today I mourn the loss of my dear friend & one of the greatest leaders & activists in the world: Winnie Mandela. I worked w/ her on the release of N. Mandela & to end apartheid in South Africa. We should all pay tribute to Winnie’s persistence in the face of injustice & racism.
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) April 2, 2018
I cherish the times I spent with you, embracing me in your family & home. You were Woman of strength that endured so much hardship and sacrifice. Without you we would not know anything about Tata and his 27 years. You will remain in my heart!! R.I.P WINNIE MANDELA ♥???? pic.twitter.com/2R9fg1t6dx
— Naomi Campbell (@NaomiCampbell) April 2, 2018
“There is nothing the apartheid government has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I haven’t known.” ~ Winnie Madikizela-Mandela pic.twitter.com/eKOvYDEyZF
— Mzilikazi wa Afrika (@IamMzilikazi) April 3, 2018