Winnie Madikizela-Mandela memorial service

FILE Winnie Madikizela Mandela, raises a clenched fist on 27 July 1987 during the funeral of Sello Motau senior member of the

FILE Winnie Madikizela Mandela, raises a clenched fist on 27 July 1987 during the funeral of Sello Motau senior member of the"Umkhonto We Sizwe, the ANC military wing who was gunned down in Swaziland 9 July 1987

Ms Madikizela-Mandela grew up in what is now Eastern Cape province and came to Johannesburg as the city's first black female social worker.

For many South Africans, the most memorable image of Madikizela-Mandela is her punching the air in a clenched-fist salute as she walked hand-in-hand with Mandela out of Victor Verster prison, near Cape Town, on February 11, 1990.

A longtime stalwart of the ANC, Madikizela-Mandela was a member of South Africa's parliament at the time of her death. Grandson Bambatha Mandela spoke of the last tender moments they shared together in the hours leading to 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.

"There was not a single bit of information that fingered Winnie to say that she was responsible or not maybe personally responsible for the murder, that she gave instruction for Stompie to be eliminated. I don't know where South Africa would be without her - no one can fill her space".

The ANC will on Thursday launch the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Day of Service in Orlando, Soweto, the ruling party said in a statement.

The dark spots in her image were the accusation she ordered the killing of a 14 year-old boy, Stompei, accused of being a spy for the apartheid regime and her divorce from her husband Nelson Mandela after accusations of adultery. She was often away from her two daughters with Mandela, and in 1977, she was banished to a remote town in the middle of the country to separate her from the heart of the movement she led in Soweto.

"Mama Mandela was very methodical".

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When Ms 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.

In 1991, a court found Ms Madikizela-Mandela guilty of the boy's kidnapping and assault and sentenced her to six years in jail. She appealed, had the accessory charge dismissed, and paid a fine.

In this regard, Mama Madikizela-Mandela's funeral will have elements of both military and ceremonial honours.

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

In 2003, she was convicted of fraud while serving as an African National Congress lawmaker.

Former wife of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, waves as she attends the 54th ANC National Conference at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

"For those of you who are still trying to drag the name of uMakhulu‚ archbishops and chiefs alike‚ the people are angry‚" Bambatha said.

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