Winnie Madikizela Mandela. File picture: Dumisani Sibeko
Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela Mandela was one of the most respected and vocal women freedom fighters in South Africa. She was a qualified social worker who was passionate about equality and women's rights.

Winnie was known by many as a firebrand because of her quick temper and unwillingness to back down from an issue she believed in. She was steadfast in her commitment to a non-racist, non-sexist society and proved a formidable opponent for the apartheid-era police.

Here are five of our favourite Winnie quotes:

* "The years of imprisonment hardened me. Perhaps if you have been given a moment to hold back and wait for the next blow, your emotions wouldn't be blunted as they have been in my case. When it happens every day of your life when that pain becomes a way of life, I no longer have the emotion of fear - there is no longer anything I can fear. There is nothing the government has not done to me. There isn't any pain I haven't known."

* "The overwhelming majority of women accept patriarchy unquestioningly and even protect it, working out the resultant frustrations not against men but against themselves in their competition for men as sons, lovers and husbands. Traditionally the violated wife bides her time and off-loads her built-in aggression on her daughter-in-law.So men dominate women through the agency of women themselves."

* "Together, hand in hand, with our matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country."

* "I am the product of the masses of my country and the product of my  enemy."

* “…that midnight knock when all about you is quiet. It means those blinding torches shone simultaneously through every window of your house before the door is kicked open. It means the exclusive right the security branch have to read each and every letter in the house. It means paging through each and every book on your shelves, lifting carpets, looking under beds, lifting sleeping children from mattresses and looking under the sheets. It means tasting your sugar, your mealie meal and every spice on your kitchen shelf. Unpacking all your clothing and going through each pocket. Ultimately it means your seizure at dawn, dragged away from little children screaming and clinging to your skirt, imploring the white man dragging Mummy away to leave her alone.

Sourced from SA History and Independent Media archives.

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