Johannesburg - A close friend of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, identified only as Mrs Mokgobo, said she admired how the struggle icon would always recognize the value in people.
Mrs Mokgobo said Madikizela-Mandela often saw the good in her and valued her work and opinion.
Mokgobo has been friends with the struggle icon for 50 years and said their families were close for many years.
She was speaking at the official funeral service of Madikizela-Mandela at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
The Mother of the Nation, as she was called, died on April 2 following an illness.
Mokgobo met Madikizela-Mandela while she was working at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto when she started working as a young social worker.
“Winnie loved her work and children came first and she was at the right place. She was a fighter. She was such a good friend and colleague and her children had a place in my home,” said Mrs Mkgoba.
Their friendship spanned years while Mokgobo was in exile.
She said Madikizela-Mandela’s children always knew they had a home when their mother was not around. Mokgobo also advised Madkizela-Mandela’s daughters, Zindzi and Zenani to keep strong in their mother’s passing.
“MaWinnie loved her family. Her family was most important above anything. (Zindzi and Zenani) I want to convey my deepest condolences to you, you are about to go through difficult time. Use the gift she has given you to be the best in your life,” said Mokgobo.
The friend also conveyed a message from social worker veterans. Madikizela-Mandela was one of the first black social workers and her mark in the industry did not go unnoticed, said Mokgobo.
The former social workers thanked her for her contribution to the profession.
Madikizlela-Mandela’s funeral is currently underway at Orlando Stadium and various speakers are billed to address the thousands of mourners in attendance.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy and EFF leader Julius Malema is expected to relay a message of support.