'#WinnieMandela an embodiment of the struggle, torchbearer of our liberation'

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's official memorial service was held at Orlando Stadium in Soweto where thousands of supporters have gathered to pay their respects.

Deputy president David Mabuza is seen alongside Zenani and Zindzi Mandela during the memorial service for the late Winnie Madikizela Mandela at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday 11 April 2018. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has been hailed for empowering women with deputy president David Mabuza describing her as the embodiment of the struggle.

Madikizela-Mandela's official memorial service was held at Orlando Stadium in Soweto where thousands of supporters gathered to pay their respects.

She died last week at the age of 81.

Mabuza says Madikizela-Mandela played a critical role in the empowerment of women in the country.

“You reminded our daughters and mothers that it is them who are powerful beyond measure. You taught women across the nation that they are just capable, if not more capable of standing shoulder to shoulder with men.”

He says the struggle stalwart must be respected for showing courage in the midst of adversity.

“You are an embodiment of our struggle, you are a torchbearer of our liberation.”

Mabuza says the struggle icon struck terror at the heart of racial discrimination and injustice, saying she has set the bar high with the legacy that will live on into the ages.

VISIONARY

Mabuza says Madikizela-Mandela was a visionary unifier and the best way to honour her would be a nation that builds itself using her goals as a compass.

Mabuza says Madikizela-Mandela's dreams for a prosperous South Africa can be realised by focusing on uplifting the poor.

The deputy president has extended his condolences to her family.

“In the knowledge that across the length and breadth of our country and across the world, young people are opening their eyes and proclaiming that mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela did not die, but she multiplied.”

Mabuza also read an extract from a poem written by American author Alice Walker dedicated to the life of Madikizela-Mandela.

“Winnie Mandela we love your vigilance; we love your impatience with killers and charlatans. We love your hatred of the deaths of our people. We love your hatred of despair.”