Picture: Sihle Manda

Johannesburg - Former president Jacob Zuma has paid tribute to the late struggle icon, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Zuma, who visited the family this morning in Soweto, said with the death of Madikizela-Mandela a pillar has fallen.

“She was not just a mother. She was a mother to the ANC and to the nation. In her own name and right, she made a contribution to our struggle. Many joined the struggle because they saw her fighting.

“She gave inspiration to everyone. Her bravery to face the enemy was beyond understanding,” said Zuma.

The former statesman said he was shocked when he heard that Madikizela-Mandela has passed away.

Zuma also thanked President Cyril Ramaphosa for offering Madikizela-Mandela an official state funeral.

“I appreciate the president giving her the funeral she deserves. She is a national hero. Saying goodbye in a manner that shows respect and dignity to the mother of our nation,” said Zuma. 

President Ramaphosa confirmed on Monday that a memorial service would be held for 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.

@SthembisoMedia 

The Star