President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed on Monday that a memorial service and a full state funeral will be held for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Picture: Leon Muller

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed on Monday that a memorial service would be held for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on Wednesday, April 11 and a full state funeral on Saturday, April 14. 

Madikizela-Mandela died in a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 81 on Monday after suffering a long illness that failed to rob of her of the charisma and energy that defined her sometimes divisive character.

On Monday night mourners gathered at her Soweto home to pay tribute to her "fighting spirit", singing struggle-era songs in tribute and praise.

"Many off our people cannot believe that she has departed. They were still enjoying her presence in life, particularly because she seemed to have gotten over the health challenges she was going through," Ramaphosa told mourners.

"The nation was ill-prepared for her departure and people are grieving very deeply. The death is a great loss on that she has been one of the strongest women in our struggle who suffered immensely. She was treated badly, was separated from not only her husband but from her children and people as well. She remained strong determinatives and courageous and “stubborn on behalf of the people,” Ramaphosa said.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader Julius Malema, who became her confidante of in recent years, is expected to visit her modest two-storey red brick home on Tuesday.

The EFF paid tribute to Winnie Mandela's "fighting spirit" following news of her death.

"She affirmed both the love and anger of black people; always committed to their right to defend their lives even (with) arms in the face of a deadly apartheid evil," the radical leftist party said in a statement.

The ANC Women's League, which Winnie Mandela once led, will stage a mass march to her home on Wednesday.