President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the memorial service of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Mbizana, Eastern Cape. PHOTO: ANA Reporter

MBIZANA - Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has left an undebatable mark in the heart of South Africa and the struggle stalwart had an unbreakable spirit, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa was addressing thousands who descended at the official memorial service for Madikizela-Mandela, at Mphuthumi Mafumbatha stadium in her birthplace, Mbizana.

Madikizela-Mandela's courage stood out throughout the struggle for the liberation during apartheid,  he said.

"She was the symbol of hope to all the oppressed and the source of courage for those who wanted to fight against injustice... Go around and find out from those who suffered under the brute force of apartheid, you will hear them saying no one who had more courage. Who had more commitment, who was stronger than mam Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela," Ramaphosa said.

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Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela earned her title as 'mother of the nation" in the trenches of the struggle, adding that she endured the worst from the apartheid regime.

"Mam' Winnie endured lots of pain that was visited upon her for nothing other than fighting and opposing apartheid... The apartheid regime sought to break her spirit. They sought to destroy her by constantly harassing her family, subjecting her to the worst forms of torture, detaining her without trial and putting her on solitary confinement, burnishing her to the place that was far from home and imposing on her a long relationship with her husband and her children. But consistent with the character of the generation of defiance and resilience and women on which she came her spirit was never broken."

Ramaphosa said the African National Congress led government would emulate Madikizela-Mandela's unwavering commitment to fight against challenges that are currently facing the country. 

"Learning from her, having respect for times and context we have mobilised our democratic processes to do everything possible to enhance our capacity to fight effectively against poverty, against unemployment and against inequalities and as well to eliminate everything that threatens to weaken such capacity including selfish acts of grand-corruption and state capture."

African News Agency/ANA