Tue | Apr 24, 2018

Thousands pay tribute to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Published:Thursday | April 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Mourners attend a memorial service for anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikzela-Mandela at the Orlando, Stadium, in Soweto, South Africa, yesterday. The death of Madikizela-Mandela, often called the "Mother of the Nation," has triggered widespread soul-searching in South Africa over the legacy of one of the nation'a most important fighters against the previous regime of racial discrimination.

JOHANNESBURG (AP):

Emotional tributes to anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela poured in yesterday during an hours-long memorial service attended by thousands at Soweto's Orlando Stadium. Madikizela-Mandela died on April 2 at the age of 81.

"The embodiment of courage. The embodiment of resilience. The embodiment of strength," poet and singer Mzwakhe Mbuli said during a performance at the service. "There's no grave big enough to bury her legacy."

The death of Madikizela-Mandela, often called the 'Mother of the Nation', has triggered widespread soul-searching in South Africa over the legacy of one of the nation's most important fighters against racial discrimination, yet who was dogged by scandal.

During the decades of imprisonment of her husband, Nelson Mandela, Madikizela-Mandela helped keep the plight of the political leader and the gross injustices of the apartheid system in the global spotlight, her own face and voice becoming synonymous with the anti-apartheid struggle.

In the week since her death in a Johannesburg hospital, there has been a surge of support for the woman whose fearlessness and defiance helped bring end to apartheid but whose public image was tarnished by controversy.

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 headwrap that Madikizela-Mandela frequently wore.