Johannesburg - African National Congress (ANC) stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela lead the struggle in a practical sense, was a mother in every way, and the greatest legend from Soweto, a neighbour said on Monday.
Community members from Orlando West were slowly gathering outside the home of the late struggle icon who passed away at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.
Family members were seen driving into the residence as well as Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, the ANC's elections head Fikile Mbalula, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, and Economic Freedom Fighters' National Chairperson Dali Mpofu.
Speaking to African News Agency (ANA) outside the residence, neighbour Buthi Makgalemele said he had been living in the area for over 23 years.
He said Madikizela-Mandela was a mother of the nation.
"Charity began at home with her, she was our mother. She was leading the struggle in a practical sense. Her title as mother of the nation started her in Orlando. She was a mother in every sense. Whenever there was anything she would be there like a real neighbour and a mother," Makgalemele said.
"I call her the greatest legend of Soweto... I was visiting my neighbour and when they told me [Madikizela-Mandela died] it was like a close family member had died."
A Mandela family spokesperson on Monday, confirmed that Madikizela-Mandela had died.
"It is with profound sadness that we inform the public that Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday the 2nd of April 2018," family spokesman Victor Dlamini said in a statement.
"She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones. according to reports from various media houses in South Africa and abroad."
Madikizela-Mandela had been in and out of hospital these last few months, with her last hospitalisation for a kidney infection.
African News Agency/ANA