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Winnie Mandela to be given state funeral

TRIBUTE: Winnie Mandela will be given a state funeral

WINNIE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA, the leading anti-apartheid campaigner and former wife of Nelson Mandela, will be given a state funeral, Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.

Madikizela-Mandela, also affectionately referred to as “the mother of the nation”, died on Monday aged 81.

Ramaphosa, South Africa's new president, said a state funeral and an official memorial service will be held to honour her.

He said: “There will be many other memorial functions across the country‚ in almost every province. We would like to express our gratitude and our thanks to many across the country and the world who are wishing us well‚ who are wishing her movement well.”

Following news of her death, crowds congregated outside her home in Soweto to pay their respects.

Ramaphosa was among those who came to express their condolences.

He said: “The nation was ill-prepared for her departure and people are grieving very deeply. The death is a great loss on that she has been one of the strongest women in our struggle who suffered immensely … She remained courageous on behalf of the people.”

Madikizela-Mandela was one of the most prominent leaders of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement. She advocated relentlessly for the rights of black people, women, and for the release of Mandela during his 27-year imprisonment.

Speaking in her final interview last month, she said: “I would be extremely naive if I suggested to you that South Africa today is what we dreamed of when we gave up our lives … We came from a very brutal period of our history, a country that was segregated, [and] to transition from that era to where we are today has been a really painful journey.”

Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral is set to take place on April 14. An official memorial service will be held three days before the funeral.

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