Activist Sophia de Bruyn speaks of her last moments with Winnie

PA                   Madikizela Mandela was married to Nelson Mandela from 1958 to 1996

PA Madikizela Mandela was married to Nelson Mandela from 1958 to 1996

She will be honoured by a state funeral on April 14, preceded by an official memorial service on April 11.

For the revolution can not die until true freedom, justice and equality come to every member of the suffering Black people of South Africa and Africa, and all those who suffer injustice. Her family was by her side‚ family spokesman Victor Dlamini said. Madikizela-Mandela had strong feminist instincts.

During her almost 38-year marriage to Mandela, she fought against white-majority rule even as she vowed to escape the shadow of the great man.

Her reputation was sullied by scandals in her later years, including a 1991 conviction for kidnapping and assault. She had a knack for articulating both her intense disdain for the architects of apartheid and her fury at the injustice that had specifically been done to her husband. She deserves it, and it could be a great step towards recognising other women who participated in the struggle. "Despite controversies surrounding her life and career, Winnie Mandela's unwavering commitment to ending apartheid and securing Nelson Mandela's freedom is recorded in history".

Following her death, anti-apartheid activist and opposition politician Mosiuoa Lekota said: "Those who did nothing under apartheid never made mistakes".

Aregbesola said that Winnie did not relent in the struggle until Mandela was freed and South Africa became a free and democratic country. "In the dark and oppressive years her resistance to apartheid was like a trumpet call to thousands not to fall but to arise and press on", Archbishop Slattery said.

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Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was not just a fearless freedom fighter, she was incredibly handsome. She had back surgery a year ago.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's life can be seen as a metaphor for South Africa in its struggle to escape the oppression of apartheid to emerge as the Rainbow Nation and its subsequent decline into violence and corruption. She had attended Easter services in Soweto over the long weekend.

The National House of Traditional Leaders has noted the death of Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela-Mandela with "a profound sense of loss and deep sadness". Instead of collapsing, as others might have, the woman who was the first black medical social worker in the country became a powerful spokesperson for racial justice.

"She was in high spirits and was talking passionately". As Mandela made clear when he was finally released in 1990, his love for her had sustained him during his long years of detention, many in solitary confinement. But by 1960, Mandela had gone underground.

An activist in her own right, Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was once arrested in her pyjamas.

Her contribution to the destruction of apartheid can not be denied.

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"I recall her visit to Enugu in late 80s where I covered her arrival for Radio Nigeria".

The woman who returned to Johannesburg in 1985 was much harder, more ruthless and bellicose, branded by the cruelty of apartheid and determined vengeance. Black South Africans saw themselves in her very public struggles.

Instead, she endorsed the "necklacing" method of killing suspected informers and police with fuel-doused tyres put around the neck and set alight. "Period", said her one-time lawyer Dikgang Moseneke.

Two years later, Mandela and Winnie announced their separation.

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