President Ramaphosa Remembers Winnie Mandela As 'Voice Of Defiance'

President Ramaphosa Remembers Winnie Mandela As 'Voice Of Defiance'

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela died peacefully on Monday at the age of 81 after protracted illness, a family spokesman said.

But for Madikizela-Mandela, the end of apartheid marked the start of a string of legal and political troubles that, accompanied by tales of her glamorous living, kept her in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

"Ms. Madikizela-Mandela was one of the powerful, strongest people I have come to know".

A longtime stalwart of the ruling African National Congress, or ANC, political party, Madikizela-Mandela was a member of South Africa's parliament at the time of her death.

The family said it will release details of her memorial and funeral services when they are finalized.

Meanwhile, Tributes began pouring in for Madikizela-Mandela.

A brick-red structure with imposing walls and brawny security guards at the gate, my first impressions were of a living room littered with Mandela memorabilia - his photos, portraits and paintings were everywhere, and gifts presented to him by world presidents and diplomats.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said he was shocked at the news. "As angry as I was during the 491 days, you sort of learn to live with that kind of political background, if you are ultimately rewarded by the liberation of your country", she told me. "I think there is sufficient consensus that she is a courageous person who contributed immensely to the freedom of this country". That was in 1989. We had to wait for MK to return to SA, so we sent the Transkei defence force to guard him. She was a mother in every sense. "She is ungovernable". That would be when she attacked his governance". "It was the best marriage I ever had", she often said. "In the face of exploitation, she was a champion of justice and equality".

"Charity began at home with her, she was our mother".

So she stands on very unique ground here in South Africa. "It is not only us as South Africans, but the continent as well as the global village, that have experienced a loss".

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This dented her career, but she remained respected in the ANC, and was an MP until her death.

The IFP's Mkhuleko Hlengwa tweeted: "A sad loss indeed... Her sacrifices, bravery and persecution contributed significantly to the securing of our freedom and democracy!" She served our nation with distinction. "May her soul rest in peace".

In 1957, she met Nelson Mandela, a rising lawyer and anti-apartheid activist 18 years her senior, and they married a year later following his divorce from his first wife.

She became an global symbol of resistance to apartheid and a rallying point for poor, black township residents who demanded their freedom.

He said Madikizela-Mandela was for many years a defining symbol of the struggle against apartheid.

Left with two young daughters, Ms Madikizela-Mandela was persecuted by police and banished to a remote town where neighbours were forbidden to speak with her.

In 2001, a television camera caught Mbeki brushing Madikizela-Mandela away and knocking off her hat after she arrived an hour late for a rally to commemorate a 1976 anti-apartheid uprising by Soweto schoolchildren and students. I will never forget that.

"The epitome of the struggle against inequalities, unemployment and poverty is no more", spokesperson Toko Xasa said.

After blacks rioted in the segregated Johannesburg township of Soweto in 1976, Madikizela-Mandela was again imprisoned without trial, this time for five months.

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