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South Africa Pays Tribute To Winnie Mandela

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Winnie Mandela with husband Nelson in 1990 soon after his release from prison

A year later, she won a parliamentary seat.

- 1958: Marries Nelson Mandela, a lawyer and leading member of the anti-apartheid ANC.

In 1993, Winnie Mandela was elected as the president of the African National Congress (ANC) Women's League. Those who she didn't want to sit next to her because of the things they did to her, we'll be monitoring them closely.

Born in the poor Eastern Cape province, Madikizela-Mandela's childhood was "a blistering inferno of racial hatred", in the words of her British biographer Emma Gilbey, and she became further politicised at an early age in her job as a hospital social worker. The official national funeral is scheduled for April 14.

Eulogies have hailed the deceased as the Mother of the South African Nation, a selfless fighter, feminist and struggle icon that sacrificed the best years of her life to the emancipation of all oppressed in the country. She had been hospitalised at the weekend. Mandela was eventually released in 1990.

Winnie Mandela's Soweto home is located a short distance from the house where she once lived with Nelson Mandela and their two daughters on Vilakazi Street in Soweto's Orlando West section.

Her contribution to the destruction of apartheid can not be denied. She was frequently a target, too, and often arrested herself.

And Winnie Mandela maintained an unwavering commitment to uplifting those who were left out.

The couple - famously pictured hand-in-hand as Mr Mandela walked free from prison after 27 years - were a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for almost three decades. Nevertheless, to many she represented all that was wrong with the organization that had won non-white South Africans their freedom. Addressing a rally in 1986, she defended "necklacing", the horrific practice of setting fire to a petrol-soaked tyre placed around the neck of a suspected apartheid collaborator.

One of the last official visits she received was from current South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who went with her to Soweto township last month to encourage people to register to vote in next year's presidential election.

She had articulated her perception that the ANC had relinquished its historical mandate to secure a "full revolution in South Africa by being too conciliatory".

In 2003, she was found guilty of theft and fraud over bank loans.

She remained throughout her life a tireless advocate for the dispossessed and the marginalised. Eventually, she got her way.

Party divides were forgotten as the nation gathered at her Soweto home to pay their respects to the fiery campaigner and thorn in the flesh of the white supremacists.

He spoke out about those who distanced themselves from the struggle heroine in the 1980's saying they would back-pedal on their decisions now. An interview (below) that was shot in 1983 during the time Mandela was imprisoned shows her persistence even when she was living in exile.

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