Thousands say emotional goodbye to 'Mama Winnie' at funeral service

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Madikizela-Mandela denied any knowledge of any killings.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called her an "international symbol of resistance" whose extraordinary life had an impact on millions of people around the world.

"Mandela did go to prison, and he went in there as a burning young revolutionary, but look what came out", she said.

The veteran politician and activist would make a grand return to parliament in 2007 owing to her popularity among the poor black South Africans and the youth and would continue pushing for reforms as disillusionment swept across the majority poor black South Africans.

"Loudly and without apology, she spoke truth to power".

"We are a nation hurt by our past, numbed our present, hesitant about the future. she has united us in sorrow". She remains our conscience. "We can not pretend like South Africa is not in crisis, our country is in crisis and anyone who can not see that is just bluffing themselves".

Often called the "Mother of the Nation" and "Mama Winnie", Ms Madikizela-Mandela fought to keep South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle in the worldwide spotlight while her husband, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned. In 1977, she was uprooted from her Soweto home and placed under house arrest for eight years in a small town, Brandfort.

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The ceremony concluded 10 days of national mourning during which time hundreds of thousands of South Africans have paid tribute to the "Mother of the Nation" at her Soweto home and elsewhere. "She was an exceptional woman, she was fearless", the 31-year-old added. "The contest has been shrill and depressing in equal measure", wrote Palesa Morudu, a publisher and writer, last week.

"All those who resigned from the NEC of the women's league because they said they can't be led by a criminal they are here playing all important roles at your funeral, can we trust them or should we treat them with suspicion cde Winnie?"

"Praising her now that she's gone exhibits what hypocrites you're", she mentioned throughout her speech.

Although Madikizela-Mandela helped usher in a new, more equitable South African political system during her lifetime, she was also entangled in a number of scandals over the years.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is sitting next to the two daughters of Madikizela-Mandela and Nelson Mandela. Her courage and defiance brought her a huge personal following.

As the violence of the apartheid authorities reached new intensity, Madikizela-Mandela was drawn into a world of internecine betrayal, reprisals and atrocity. Not long after, she met African National Congress activist Mandela and the couple married in 1958, forming one of the most storied unions of the century. The following year, she was appointed deputy Prime Minister of arts, culture, science and technology in Mandela's unity government but she was later fired after allegations of corruption emerged.

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