Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Medical | By Mark Scott

Crowds celebrate # 039 & Winnie Mandela;s Lifetime in Soweto memorial Support

Crowds celebrate # 039 & Winnie Mandela;s Lifetime in Soweto memorial Support

Bambatha said for all these contributions, Madikizela-Mandela should be honoured and respected.

Many attending wore T-shirts bearing Ms Mandikizela-Mandela's image.

The Soweto Gospel Choir led those gathered in the singing of the national anthem as proceedings began.

"Every time we met Mrs Mandela, she'd tell wonderful stories, she was like no other", church leader John Moletsane told AFP as he made his way to the ceremony.

Later at the memorial, Madikizela-Mandela's great-grandchildren took turns remembering "Big Mommy" as the pillar of their family.

"She added that there could be no better place to hold a prayer service and celebration of the life of Madikizela-Mandela than in the Free State, whose fearless people had played such a great role in the country's history".

Ms Madikizela-Mandela's family members and supporters lashed out at her detractors during their speeches.

Under the social media campaign "Winnie has not died she has multiplied", scores of young women have posted pictures of themselves wearing doeks, the traditional head wrap that Ms Madikizela-Mandela frequently wore.

One of them who identified himself as Zazi said his great-grandmother was "the best, a great fighter. we all loved her".

"She means everything to me", he said.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela listens to speakers during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg on December 10, 2013.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma reported that government has since declared days of mourning from 3 April 2018 leading up to the funeral on Saturday, 14 April 2018.

"You decide to choose between the nation and your young children and it was a very hard choice to make", Madikizela Mandela said in 2013.

"I know that women can struggle and fight even when they are exhausted, and the world turns against them, for children that are not their own". When Madikizela-Mandela returned from exile to Johannesburg, she became involved with a group of young men known as the Mandela United Football Club, who were widely blamed for violence in Soweto, where she was living.

In 1991, a court found Madikizela-Mandela guilty of the boy's kidnapping and assault and sentenced her to six years in jail. She appealed, had the accessory charge dismissed, and paid a fine.

Reverend Brian Dawson said Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had pushed for change even when others pushed back.

"She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one of its most recognizable faces", the statement said.

"I believe, as (Nelson Mandela) did, that a saint is not somebody who never sinned".

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