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Thousands gather to remember Madikizela-Mandela at funeral

Key figures, including heads of state and other dignitaries, are also set to pay tribute to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela whose legacy has been honoured by many around the world.

Supporters inside the Orlando Stadium for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral on 14 April 2018. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The funeral service of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is underway at Orlando Stadium with thousands of people from across the political spectrum gathering to honour the life and times of the struggle stalwart.

Key figures, including heads of state and other dignitaries, are also set to pay tribute to Madikizela-Mandela whose legacy has been honoured by many around the world, including a special tribute at the United Nations.

GCIS acting director-general Phumla Sekhonyane says several high-profile guests will address mourners.

“We expect the presidents of Namibia and the Republic of Congo. We expect the prime minister of Madagascar. There are other speakers, like Naomi Campbell, who has been given permission to speak.”

As tributes continue to pour in for Madikizela-Mandela, her former colleagues and fellow ANC comrades have been reflecting on her life.

One of them is Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha, who says Madikizela-Mandela played a pivotal role in fighting for the rights of disabled people.

“That meeting was strategic because it culminated in us succeeding in influencing the ANC policy, with regards to including people with disabilities in various structures of government.”

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has welcomed thousands of mourners at the funeral.

Makhura says Madikizela-Mandela's politics were shaped in Gauteng and her passing has left him with mixed emotions.

Makhura says Madikizela-Mandela echoed the fears of many generations.

“We regard ourselves a lucky generation whose lives have been enriched by this colossal revolutionary and political figure of the 20th and 21st centuries.”

Madikizela Mandela’s friend Mrs Mokgoba has recalled memories they shared.

“I remember in 1976 when Winnie was in detention. Zinzi came to stay at my home over the Christmas holidays. By then we were in Lesotho. She knew she was my child and had a place in my home.”

Madikizela-Mandela passed away at Milpark Hospital last Monday and will be laid to rest this afternoon in Fourways.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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