Former ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says he has "lost a biological mother" following the death of struggle and liberation veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.Madikizela-Mandela died at Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg, on Monday after a long illness. She was 81 years old.Kodwa, who was ANC national spokesperson from May 2014 until January 2018, told News24 on Tuesday that Madikizela-Mandela was more than just a symbolic "Mother of the Nation" to him.READ: Winnie befriended cockroaches – Malema"I lost a biological mother. She was not just a mother at a distance; she was truly a biological mother who gave advice to a young man; a son to her," he said."She would call and say, come and visit me, and it would not just be about coffee or tea, but would be about the things she saw in the organisation, and my role in the organisation."She loved young leaders in the ANC, particularly when we were still in the ANC Youth League."Kodwa said the news of her death had come as a shock, as he had spent New Year with her this year. He had also invited her to his 48th birthday later that month, but she could not make it due to illness."So it was really a shock, but also I understood, because I saw over time she was not feeling well."'We did not know any other leader'Kodwa said he and others of his generation had first experienced Madikizela-Mandela's inspirational qualities in the early 1990s. She had come to speak at an event in Crossroads, Cape Town, and had inspired them to take on the police and security forces of the apartheid government."We did not know any other leader, except the names of those that were on some island called Robben Island, or were out of the country."But someone who was really in our face everyday, with her bravery, was Mama Winnie. She really inspired us."READ: Madikizela-Mandela to be buried in Fourways - familyShe had been the freedom fighter they knew, and the leader of the movement in her own right, he said.Later, he met her in person as he grew in the ANC, and had become close during his stint as national spokesperson of the party.Kodwa said Madikizela-Mandela would call him up, or invite him over to give him her thoughts on his performance.'She would tell you where to get off'"She was always very principled. If you don't want to be criticised for the things you do wrong, don't go to Mama Winnie. She will tell you where to get off."If you want constructive criticism, she will tell you honestly what you were doing right and what you were doing wrong."Her mentorship had had a natural parental feeling about it, and he and his colleagues always listened to what she had to say."I took it [her advice] to heart, and that she meant well. She would say, 'as a spokesperson, this is how you say things', as a young man, 'this is how you should conduct yourself'."She meant it first as a parent, but secondly as a mother, that this is what she wanted from a son."He described Madikizela-Mandela's mentorship as being a big tree, where young leaders could seek refuge in the shade when they needed it. She was good at identifying and giving advice to future leaders in the party - people such as Peter Mokaba, Fikile Mbalula and Malusi Gigaba.'She departed relieved for the ANC'After the ANC's national elective conference in December, Madikizela-Mandela called Kodwa to give him her own analysis of the outcomes. Cyril Ramaphosa had won the ANC presidency by a very close margin."She was very happy in the change, and the new hope brought by the current leadership, and the outcomes of the conference."I think she departed a relieved person, because she had issues about the ANC direction at the time, but she left with a happy heart."An official funeral will take place on April 14 she will be buried in Fourways, Johannesburg.