- Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away on Monday
- In his announcement, President Ramaphosa said that South Africa has lost an icon
- Madikizela-Mandela was 81-years-old
At his official announcement of the death of struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa has lost a mother, a leader and an icon,
"She was a voice for the voiceless," Ramaphosa said, following confirmation of her death by the Mandela famil.
The 81-year-old died peacefully at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, Briefly.co.za learned.
"It is with a profound sense of loss and deep sadness that we have learnt of the passing away of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela," Ramaphosa said.
"Even at the darkest moments of our struggle for liberation, Mam’ Winnie was an abiding symbol of the desire of our people to be free. In the midst of repression, she was a voice of defiance and resistance."
Madikizela-Mandela rose to prominence through her marriage to former president, Nelson Mandela, but Ramaphosa added that it was her personality that gained her respect.
"But it was through her own contribution, her sacrifice and her unyielding determination that she gained the love and the respect of the nation."
Ramaphosa added that the late struggle icon had been a champion of justice and equality, even in the face of exploitation.
"For many years, she bore the brunt of the senseless brutality of the apartheid state with stoicism and fortitude. Despite the hardships she faced, she never doubted that the struggle for freedom and democracy would succeed."
Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela remained a tireless advocate for the dispossessed and the marginalised throughout her life, and said the country must reflect on her rich, remarkable and meaningful life.
"Let us draw inspiration from the struggles that she fought and the dream of a better society to which she dedicated her life," Ramaphosa said.
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