Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was able to tell us "what is wrong and what is right at any time". This is how ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe described the party stalwart and global anti-apartheid icon, who died at a Johannesburg hospital on Monday after a long illness.
The African National Congress, representatives from Madikizela-Mandela's family and the Methodist Church addressed the media on Monday afternoon following her death, urging those who loved her to celebrate her life.
“She is one of those who would tell us exactly what is wrong and what is right at any time. We are going to be missing that, because it’s not just being an icon based on the length of your struggle, you become an icon because of that guidance. We will be missing that guidance," said Mantashe.
Mantashe’s praises for the liberation heroine were echoed by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, who said she had dedicated her entire life to the betterment of her people and the realisation of a free South Africa.
"Hers was a life where she faced the harshest tribulations. She faced and underwent trials that would have broken the spirit of any human being, but hers was an extraordinary spirit that would not be quelled, no matter what the hardships," said Magashule, describing the defiant spirit Madikizela-Mandela often displayed when dealing with apartheid police.
ANC national executive committee member Jeff Radebe, speaking on behalf of the family, said they were deeply grateful for her life.
"As our hearts break at her passing, we urge all those who loved her to celebrate this remarkable South African woman," said Radebe.
Methodist Church Bishop Gary Rivas said he had prayed with "Mama Winnie" before her passing.
"She spent good Friday at our traditional service in Soweto. As many of you know, she remained in Soweto and was worshiping in Soweto, even on Sunday," said Rivas.