Mama Winnie: Mourners pay their last respects to an inspirational leader

Madikizela-Mandela

Ramaphosa mentioned the traumas that Madikizela-Mandela endured as a goal of the highly effective apartheid state inflicted "deep wounds" that by no means healed - and went largely ignored by many friends.

Madikizela-Mandela's legacy, however, was later tarnished. "You said there must be free education‚ we are implementing that programme of action".

"She represents a fighting spirit because even though she lived through the apartheid era, she never gave up", 20-year old college student Gift Mokale said.

Zukiswa Madikizela is one of Madikizela-Mandela's sisters, she says the family will miss the struggle stalwarts greatly.

South Africa's president has paid an emotional tribute to anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, pledging to propose that she receive the ruling African National Congress' highest honor.

Ramaphosa likened her to the women in the biblical tale who tended to Jesus's tomb after the men ran away, only to return when it was safe again and then relegating women to a supporting role again.

He said that it was unfortunate that Madikizela-Mandela was too ill to attend the funeral service of the chairperson of Zone 11 a week before her death.

"There were times when people could not afford a funeral and she would assist", said neighbour Gloria Searole, 31, a service consultant who went to catch a glimpse of the procession along with her daughter. When we could not be with her, she wrote letters to us.

Ramaphosa described her as "an advocate for the dispossessed and the marginalized" and "a voice for the voiceless".

In 2003, she was on the opposite side of love, when she was convicted of fraud and theft over a bank loan scam.

She led an worldwide campaign calling for his release. Her reputation was tainted by accusations of human rights violations that seemed sometimes at odds with Mandela's fight for inclusiveness.

Tsholofelo Senwedi, from Taung in the North West, said: "I would like to pay my last respects to the mother of the nation".

Madikizela-Mandela died this month in a Johannesburg hospital after a long illness. I am so sorry that we were blindsided about what really happened to you, but nevertheless thank you for the inspiration you have been to us as the youth, thank you for encouraging us to get an education because it is hard for a black woman to make it in this world full of vultures.

"Let us honour her memory by pledging here that we will not betray the trust of her people".

South Africans were impressed by the Kenyan Head of State after he used Zulu language to bid farewell to the anti-apartheid crusader, who will be laid to rest at the Fourways Memorial Park Cemetery in Johannesburg on Saturday.

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