Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's "bravery as a woman" was what made her an outstanding leader, the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) in KwaZulu-Natal said on Monday.
"She didn't run away or stand on the sidelines when it was easy to do so. She led with true dedication and kept the fires burning while her husband, former president Nelson Mandela, was in prison for over two decades," ANCWL KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Nonhlanhla Khoza told journalists at a press briefing in Durban.
Madikizela-Mandela died at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on April 2.
The league said Madikizela-Mandela was always with the people during the apartheid era and was a "faithful servant" of the ANC.
"She completely reshaped the narrative of what it meant to be a woman activist at the time, therefore paving the way for generations of women to come. It was her defiance and resilience that scared the apartheid government and kept them on their toes," said Khoza.
Khoza said the struggle icon was fond of people, especially the most destitute families.
The league said Madikizela-Mandela refused to live in the shadow of her former husband "and [sought] her own identity outside her marriage as a struggle icon".
An inspiration to many
"As the KZN leadership of the women's league, we found it appropriate and befitting that we dedicate our programme, Molo Makhelwane, to her," said Khoza.
She explained that through the Molo Makhelwane (Hello Neighbour) campaign their goal was to build stronger, inclusive and socially cohesive communities through meaningful engagement with communities.
"We want to promote neighbourliness, solidarity and social harmony in communities, reviving the principles of ubuntu in communities, addressing socio-economic challenges in households, addressing the political challenge of the social distance between local leadership and community members," she said.
The league's provincial treasurer, Weziwe Thusi, said Madikizela-Mandela had inspired many, herself included, to join the ANC.
Thusi said Madikizela-Mandela was able to connect with people from all walks of life, be they in squatter camps or the suburbs.
The league also unveiled programmes that it has lined up for the week in honour of Madikizela-Mandela ahead of her funeral at the weekend.
It said the main event for the province would take place at K Section Hall in KwaMashu at 08:00 on Thursday where the ANCWL will launch the Molo Makhelwane campaign.
The provincial memorial service will take place at the Durban City Hall also on Thursday at 15:00.