Visual Essay: South Africa honours Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Canny Maphanga

Canny Maphanga

Thousands of South Africans have gathered at a stadium in Johannesburg to pay tribute to former anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who died at the age of 81 earlier this month.

It has been trending on social media, with many expressing heartbreak at how the "ANC (African National Congress) failed Mam Winnie".

Guterres, in his remarks at a memorial service in honour of Winnie, who died on April 2, said: "As a strong and fearless woman, she had to fight patriarchy's definitions of womanhood".

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He said: "Faced with the most heinous of racist and discriminatory regimes, she helped lead the way in showing what it takes to overcome such tyranny - strength, defiance and courage".

Madikizela-Mandela's grandson, Bambatha Mandela, who described his grandmother as "an extraordinary woman, a mother, a soldier, a fighter", said: "She is one person who I thought would live forever".

"Her support of young people and their crucial contribution to a society's development also highlighted her commitment to the inclusion and rights of groups often overlooked". We worked with her on a number of projects over the last decade, including the book 491 Days, which drew on the archive of her time as a prisoner.

Her daughters Zindzi and Zenani Mandela, grandchildren and former First Lady and wife to the late Nelson Mandela, Graća Michel, were among those present at the colourful but celebratory event.

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A statement released by the foundation following her death read, "Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's passing away is a hard blow for the foundation".

"She was very generous".

She was also accused of running a group responsible for multiple murders and beatings in Soweto, and of endorsing "necklacing": killing suspected informers with burning tires put over their heads.

Clenched fists were raised throughout, saluting the beloved "Mother of the Nation" as she was affectionately known as.

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