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A memorial was also held in the town of Brandfort where Winnie Mandela was kept under house arrest for eight years.

One of them who identified himself as Zazi said his great-grandmother was "the best, a great fighter. we all loved her".

A memorial service was held for Winnie Mandela at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg.

Bambatha said for all these contributions, Madikizela-Mandela should be honoured and respected.

"She means everything to me", he said.

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

A longtime stalwart of the ANC, Madikizela-Mandela was a member of South Africa's parliament at the time of her death.

After Mr Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, Ms Madikizela-Mandela embraced her own leadership in the freedom struggle with steely determination and at great personal sacrifice.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma reported that government has since declared days of mourning from 3 April 2018 leading up to the funeral on Saturday, 14 April 2018.

Mourners attend a memorial service for late South African anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela at Orlando Stadium on April 11, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"Mama Mandela was very methodical".

"Even to this day, a parent like me still feels that guilt". When Madikizela-Mandela returned from exile to Johannesburg, she became involved with a group of young men known as the Mandela United Football Club, who were widely blamed for violence in Soweto, where she was living.

Winnie Mandela, centre left, with ANC leader Nelson Mandela, centre right, leaves the Rand Supreme Court on February, 1991, after an adjournment in her kidnap and assault court case following the death of teenage activist Stompie Seipei.

The charismatic master of ceremonies cried "Long live the fighting spirit of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela", and "Viva Soweto!" to spirited chanting from the crowd.

AUT social sciences associate professor Camille Nakhid said Nelson Mandela was remembered because his then-wife Winnie made sure he had a voice, when others would have preferred him to be silent.

Nonhlanhla Mdluli from Rockville in Soweto stood out in her red Economic Freedom Fighters doek in a sea of green, black and gold.

She campaigned relentlessly for Mandela's release during his 27-year imprisonment, raised two daughters alone and faced harassment by South African security forces.

Political parties were represented today by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the IFP, UDM leader, Ret. Gen. Bantu Holomisa, Leader of the NFP Prof.