Winnie Mandela funeral underway in SA

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Winnie Madikizela Mandela's death managed to unite different political parties who are often at odds with each other. "She fought from beginning to the end".

Thousands of mourners have crowded into a stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, where the campaigner is being given a high-level send-off.

Mourners followed Madikizela-Mandela's coffin in procession into the stadium where the funeral began with the singing of the national anthem.

Tens of hundreds of individuals sang, cheered and cried because the flag-draped casket of anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was escorted from her official funeral on Saturday.

Over the last week I spoke to scores of distraught South Africans in Soweto township, where Winnie Mandela lived before South Africa attained majority rule, and in Tembisa township. The crowd, which included former presidents Jacob Zuma, Kgalema Motlanthe and Thabo Mbeki, roared in approval.

In the documentary, Vic McPherson, then Director of apartheid government's Covert Strategic Communications (StratCom), revealed the details of Operation Romulus - a counter-revolutionary strategy that had Madikizela-Mandela as its primary target.

Madikizela-Mandela died at the Milpark hospital after a long illness on April 2.

The couple ended the 38 years of marriage in 1996 after which she adopted the surname "Madikizela-Mandela". Those who notice such things would have realised that her 2013 book, 491 Days - which tells the story of the brutality she experienced at the hands of the apartheid state, the depths of her despair and her extraordinary resilience and defiance under extreme pressure -was already an invitation for a deep re-evaluation of her life. It is so hard to see how they withheld their words during my mother's lifetime knowing very well what they would have meant to her. Her Xhosa name was Nomzamo (She who tries).

"She empowered us and taught us that you should never give up in anything that you do". Women, men, and young people expressed their love and admiration for her, saying she was "a fearless fighter, and leader in her own right, not just Mandela's former wife".

EFF leader Julius Malema arrives at the Orlando stadium. They are here and now crying the loudest‚ more than us.

She said those who vilified her mother should not for one moment think that the family would forget that. Malema said she asked him to return to the ANC but he responded, "But which ANC do we go to?"

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa led a pre-burial service for the anti-apartheid campaigner. "We could have told her the praises while she was alive", Zezani said.

More activity is expected to come in honour of her legacy including a #WeAreNomzamo memorial by a group of black feminists at Morris Isaacson school in Soweto on Saturday from 1pm to 5pm.

"We are celebrating the fruits of Mama Winnie's work today in South Africa". "Zenani's tears revealed Mama Winnie's wounds".

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, her relationship with her husband and the patriarchal society, apartheid government, and her legacy were the focus of a high-level panel discussion convened by KayaFM on Thursday evening. "It was a life of compassion", said the president.

For years, she was routinely harassed by apartheid-state security forces, imprisoned and tortured.

She said the media was "complicit in smearing my mother". "She exposed the lie of apartheid".