Tributes pour in following Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's death

Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota says Madikizela-Mandela was an outstanding figure of the struggle for racial and gender equality.

FILE: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela saluting the crowd at the start of the ANC's 54th national conference on 16 December 2017. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation says Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will be remembered for her militancy, courage and defiance that kept the struggle against apartheid alive.

The foundation's Zaakirah Vadi says: “Comrade Winnie has inspired not only her own generation but I think generations now and in the future.

“I think with time, like other iconic figures, her mentality of free and equal society should be embraced so that we can preserve her legacy.”

Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota says that Madikizela-Mandela was an outstanding figure of the struggle for racial and gender equality.

“We think that history will continue to honour her to the future. An example of life, an example of her life will continue to inspire generations of South Africans, Africans and the international community, to live lives of courage wherever human beings are oppressed.”

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says Madikizela-Mandela made an indelible contribution to South Africa and stood for principle.

WATCH: Ramaphosa pays tribute to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Locals and foreigners who had planned a visit Vilakazi Street were shocked to hear of Madikizela-Mandela’s passing.

“Condolences to the family. My heart is very sore.”

Another local says she’s still in shock.

“I am very sad. I think over the next few days and over the next week we’ll see an outpouring of grief.”

Later on Monday, residents and some ANC members gathered outside Madikizela-Mandela’s home to pay tribute.

Ramaphosa arrived at her home too, saying that no one was prepared for this news.

“Now she’s gone and in a funny sort of way, the nation was ill-prepared for her early departure.”

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule says her name will forever be inscribed in history.

“The commits to intensify that struggle that became her life. We will ensure her spirit stays with us. That’s why we’re saying that this was our mother of our struggle. We want to pass on our condolences to the Mandelas and Madikizelas.”

Struggle stalwart Sophie de Bruyn says her heart is heavy following the passing of her friend.

De Bruyn shared the last moment she had with Madikizela Mandela.

“When I turned 80 in January I went to see mama Winnie. My last memory of her was of us holding hands. She spoke so passionately about the struggle days… she was happy.”

Former MP Pallo Jordaan says Madikizela-Mandela was a selfless individual who dedicated her life to serving others.

“She was also very passionate and co mitted in to the poor, which came out through many interventions for people who lived in terrible circumstances.”

WATCH: Soweto neighbours share memories of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

FAITHFUL TO THE END

Madikizela Mandela remained a faithful member of the African National Congress throughout her life even though she spoke out against the organisation when it went through what she described as a crisis a year ago.

She also recently expressed confidence in the new leadership of the organisation.

“I am the ANC in the first place.”

This was Madikizela Mandela just three weeks ago when she registered to vote for the ANC in next year’s elections.

But just a year go, she almost couldn’t recognize the party she dedicated her life to.

After ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada died in 2017, the woman affectionately known as the "mother of the nation", spoke of her sadness over the state of the ANC.

“It is a tragedy that he did live and saw what’s happening today. All what he had fought for was not what’s going on today, it’s tragedy that he left and saw what’s happening today, we can’t pretend SA is not in crisis.”

And in her eyes, that crisis seemed to end when new leaders were elected in December.

As she registered to vote last month Madikizela-Mandela expressed confidence in the ANC, saying it would surprise the country in the 2019 polls.

“I’m confident that we’ll lead this South Africa to victory. I’m back.”

At the same time, international reaction has continued to pour in, including those overseas, who were involved in the fight against apartheid.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has joined other world leaders in mourning the death of the anti-apartheid icon, describing it as a huge loss to Africa.

In a statement, he described her as a courageous woman.

He has urged her family and all South Africans to be consoled by the knowledge that her contributions to end apartheid will not be forgotten.

British veterans of the campaign against apartheid in South Africa have praised Madikizela-Mandela's role in opposing minority rule.

Former British cabinet minister, Lord Peter Hain, says her "fearless" opposition to the apartheid regime should not be overshadowed by other controversies.

UK shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has described the stalwart as having "extraordinary courage" fighting for 27 years for the release of her husband former president Nelson Mandela.

In the US, civil rights leader the Reverend Jesse Jackson says in the darkest hours of the struggle to free South Africa, Madikizela-Mandela was the face of hope and courage.

The Reverend Al Sharpton has called her a warrior and queen, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has hailed her as a leading figure in the fight against apartheid.

A national memorial service will be held on 11 April and the funeral will be held on 14 April.