South Africa declares mourning period for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

South Africa declares mourning period for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

South Africa has declared 10 days of national mourning for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist and ex-wife of Nelson Mandela who died after a long illness.

A memorial service for Ms Madikizela-Mandela will be held on April 11 at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Johannesburg's Soweto area, and a "special official" funeral with military honours will take place at Orlando Stadium in Soweto three days later, the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

The Regina Mundi church was a refuge for anti-apartheid activists during white minority rule.

Ms Madikizela-Mandela's house in Soweto has been visited by mourners since she died on Monday aged 81.

Women's league members from South Africa's ruling party sang outside the home on Tuesday and Julius Malema, an opposition leader, spoke to a crowd of supporters, saying South Africans must "bid farewell to a giant".

The South African flag will fly at half-mast at official locations and at South African diplomatic missions abroad during the mourning period, which will end on April 14, according to Mr Ramaphosa's office.

Ms Madikizela-Mandela was persecuted by the apartheid government, and venerated by many South Africans, because of her activism against white minority rule.

Her reputation was sullied by scandals, including a 1991 conviction for kidnapping and assault.

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