In Tribute to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 'Mother of South Africa'

What legacy does South Africa's Winnie Mandela leave behind?

Former wife of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratically-elected black president, she died peacefully surrounded by loved ones in the early hours of Monday afternoon in Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, her family said.

Till date, known as the "Mother of the Nation (South Africa)" and dubbed a firebrand activist for her valiant fight against the apartheid state, Winnie never failed to criticise the ANC which has since remained South Africa's ruling party, whenever she felt things were done wrongly.

If some obit writers have damned her with faint praise, by remembering her as only Nelson Mandela's wife, history will be fairer to Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela-Mandela.

"When my official home, as Commonwealth secretary general, in London was the first Winnie visited with Nelson on his release - to meet his "anti-apartheid" friends - it was a statement from her of love and gratitude to us all - as she wrote in our visitor's book".

And why did she continue to show preference for radical approaches to policy choices even in the post-apartheid South Africa, when her party was in charge?

Prime Minister Holness added that Winnie Mandela is immortalized in the Jamaican socio-cultural consciousness with songs and stories about her life and struggles.

Neighbours, supporters and passers-by assembled to sing and chant at the gates of her modest two-storey red-brick home in the Orlando neighbourhood shortly after her death was announced.

After Mandela's death, however, she became involved in disputes over his inheritance.

Winnie Madikizila Mandela, 81, died on April 2 in a Johannesburg Hospital after a protracted illness. The 22-year-old Winnie caught the eye of Mandela at a Soweto bus-stop in 1957, starting a whirlwind romance that led to their marriage a year later. Her sentence for the former was reduced to a fine on appeal and the latter was suspended.

But two years later, their marriage crumbled.

"The passing of ANC veteran leader and Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was a national tragedy". "I just realized how relentless racism and sexism are". In 1996, the Mandelas officially divorced. "I am not the sort of person to carry handsome flowers and be an ornament to everyone", she said. An interview (below) that was shot in 1983 during the time Mandela was imprisoned shows her persistence even when she was living in exile. Winnie has become, alongside Nelson Mandela, in the faces of justice in South Africa. Her life is a bright light on the African continent, she concluded. She faced these allegations again during the 1997 hearings before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a panel that investigated apartheid-era crimes.

Reggae singer Carlene Davis was simply awed by the occasion when she met Winnie Mandela in 1990, the woman many South Africans have described as the "Mother of the Nation" and a champion of the black majority. "Winnie has argued that she played 80 percent of the role in elevating his status while he was in prison", William Gumede a scholar studying the ANC told Lyman.

In line with this declaration, the National Flag shall, with immediate effect, fly at half-mast at all flag stations countrywide and at South African diplomatic missions overseas, the president said. Your legacy will be an uplifting beacon from which we can continue to draw guidance and strength during hard times. Though it glosses over the complexity of her life, it articulates why the polarizing activist remains a source of inspiration for people today.