As leaders from across the globe paid glowing tribute to Winnie Mandela, the family sought to come clean, accusing the government and the media of being hypocritical in their praises for the fallen hero.
Some of the family members were transported to the stadium in white buses and President Cyril Ramaphosa's motorcade followed shortly after.
After Mr Mandela was imprisoned by the apartheid regime, Mrs Madikizela-Mandela became an worldwide symbol of resistance to apartheid. "Winnie's life was of service to her people, it was a life of compassion. She made this a global struggle‚" said Jackson.
"Loudly and without apology, she spoke truth to power".
But her controversial reputation has been largely brushed aside in the wake of her death with tributes to her bravery, independence and integrity dominating public commemorations. She remains our conscience.
Often called the "Mother of the Nation" and "Mama Winnie", Ms Madikizela-Mandela fought to keep South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle in the global spotlight while her husband, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned.
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The official funeral service for the ex-wife of the late Nelson Mandela was taking place on Saturday morning in Soweto - a Johannesburg township at the forefront of the battle against apartheid where she lived.
Among the bouquets piled outside its gate, a new memorial bears the legend "I am the product of the masses, of my country and the product of my enemy", a 1996 quote attributed to Madikizela-Mandela. Mandela, South Africa's first black president, fired her as one in every of his deputy ministers.
Speaking of her formidable nature Ramaphosa described Madikizela-Mandela as "proud, defiant and articulate", adding that she defied the very premise of apartheid ideology and male superiority. "The contest has been shrill and depressing in equal measure", wrote Palesa Morudu, a publisher and writer, last week. Then, addressing members of the A.N.C. who had been hostile to Ms. Madikizela-Mandela, he said: "We see you in your lovely suits. As president, I will propose that we award you the highest order of our movement, you richly deserve to be awarded", Mr Ramaphosa said.
The EFF leader commemorated people who stood by Madikizela-Mandela when she was widely vilified.
Most of Winnie Mandela's 38-year marriage to Nelson was spent apart, leaving her to raise their two daughters alone as she kept his political dream alive. Her courage and defiance brought her a huge personal following. For she wore the gaping wounds of her people.
As the violence of the apartheid authorities reached new intensity, Madikizela-Mandela was drawn into a world of internecine betrayal, reprisals and atrocity.
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"She had been left to tend her wounds on her own for most of her life". Her reputation was tainted by accusations of human rights violations that seemed sometimes at odds with Mandela's fight for inclusiveness.
The end of apartheid marked the start of a string of legal and political troubles.
Many memorializing Madikizela-Mandela have recognized her as a political force in her own right.
Not until 1974, when she was 16 years old, could she visit him.
The coffin, which was covered by a South African flag, left the house in a black hearse at around 08:30 on Saturday.
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