Winnie Madikizela Mandela attends the opening of the newly renovated Mandela house at number 8115 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West in 2009. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Johannesburg - Winnie Madikizela Mandela's courage inspired freedom fighters in South Africa, Africa and the diaspora, African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule said on Monday night.

Madikizela Mandela passed away at the Milpark hospital in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon after a long illness. 

"The ANC lowers it's revolutionary banner in honour of the memory of this great woman who was so loved and referred and whose name will forever be inscribed in history," Magashule said in a live broadcast on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

"Comrade Winnie Madikizela Mandela dedicated her life to the betterment of her people and she worked for the realisation of that right until the end of her life. She was an inspiration to both young and old," he said.

"The life of Winnie Mandela epitomised humility and fortitude... She faced unknown trials that would have broken the spirit of any human being. But hers was an extra-ordinary spirit that will not be quelled no matter the hardships."

African News Agency/ANA