Anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on July 05 2004.
JOHANNESBURG - News of struggle veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela&39;s death is reverberating across the African continent.
The African Union (AU) describes the icon as a fearless freedom fighter, who will be remembered for her immense sacrifices.
The chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said in a statement Madikizela-Mandela "never relented in her struggle or wavered in her commitment, despite imprisonment, banishment, and decades-long separation from her then husband, Nelson Mandela, during his imprisonment.
"Winnie Madikizela-Mandela paved the way for women in the struggle to end apartheid and fought relentlessly for their rights and welfare in her country.
"It was in recognition of her formidable contribution to the fight against oppression that she received a lifetime achievement award in 2017 from the AU Commission chairperson.
"The entire African Union family joins the continent in grief at the passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. On this sad occasion, the chairperson conveys his heartfelt condolences to the government and people of South Africa."
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says the passing of Madikizela-Mandela is a huge loss to Africa.
The President noted that she was a woman of uncommon determination, steadfastness and perseverance who held aloft the torch of the struggle against institutionalised discrimination even while her ex-husband, the late Madiba, President Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) April 2, 2018
According to him, she remained a pride not only to the African woman, but indeed all Africans.— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) April 2, 2018
The President prayed that God Almighty will comfort all those who mourn the departed and grant her soul eternal rest.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says Mama Winnie endured pain -- and won.
In the second half of the twentieth century, Africa won its liberty. We who have it can scarcely understand the trials of those who fought for it. In the life of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who endured and won, we see plainly what our freedom cost.— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) April 2, 2018
In several tweets, he paid tribute to the "heroine" and "liberator".
Though born before formal apartheid, she came of age in state devoted to White domination. She chose a life of service and valour, qualifying as a nurse, and devoting herself to the struggle for African liberty.— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) April 2, 2018
She soon met Nelson Mandela, with whom she had a family, and whose partner in the fight for liberation she became. When he was jailed, she continued the fight — against incredible odds — and held her family together, even when she was exiled, jailed and continually tormented.— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) April 2, 2018
In the end, her courage was rewarded: she lived to see Mandela free; she lived to see her country liberated; and she went on to serve a free South Africa until her death.— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) April 2, 2018
May her courage inspire us to make the most of the liberty she won for us; may her family be comforted by the memory of her heroic life; and may she rest in perpetual peace.— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) April 2, 2018
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is saluting Mama Winnie&39;s role in the struggle.
Very sorry to hear about the death of comrade Winnie Mandela. I salute her contribution to the resistance in South Africa, especially during the time Mzee Mandela was in prison.— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) April 2, 2018
Ugandan government spokesman Shaban Bantazira said: “She has done her part as our mother but also as our leader… the family should celebrate the life of Winnie Mandela rather than mourn because she’s done the best that she could so they should ... stand for what she stood for and continue ... because the fight could have ended but the struggle continues."
Closer to home, Western Pondoland mourns the death of one of its own.
The AmaMpondo king, Ndamase "Ndlovuyezwe" Ndamase, says in a statement Madikizela-Mandela, the princess of Amangutyana and AmaMpondo, was a "majestic woman".
"When her husband got arrested she remained committed to the struggle- she raised not only her two daughters but many destitute children who were subjected to abject poverty by the apartheid system.
"This majestic woman of our times, mother of the nation throughout the struggle and even continued post the apartheid regime as we were navigating our freedom in its infancy.
"Our nation will remember this social worker for the many charity programmes she assisted with in various villages and townships of our country. We will always miss this icon of the struggle, the voice of the voiceless who remained a watchdog to the ruling party until the end," the king says.