Thousands of mourners, including President Cyril Ramaphosa and other dignitaries and officials, gathered at the Orlando Stadium for the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on Saturday. Photo: Supplied (GCIS)

Johannesburg - The Abathembu royal family had wanted struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to be buried in the Eastern Cape, King Azenathi Dalindyebo told the capacity crowd at her funeral at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg on Saturday.

"We had wished she would be buried next to Madiba in Qunu... but we understand the family's decision to bury her here... she cannot be boxed in life and death," he told thousands of mourners at the stadium, adding that the Xhosa culture did not recognise divorce.

Madikizela-Mandela died at the age of 81 on April 2 at Johannesburg's Milpark Hospital. The revered anti-apartheid struggle icon is the ex-wife of former president Nelson Mandela. She will be buried at Fourways Memorial Park, north of Johannesburg, where her great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela was buried in 2010.

Photo: Supplied (GCIS)

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African News Agency/ANA