Gauteng premier, David Makhura says the death of Winnie Madikizela Mandela has left the country orphaned as she was the mother of the nation.

He has welcomed thousands of mourners at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto to bid farewell to Mama Winnie.

Makhura says South Africa will always cherish the role played by this fallen heroine.

He says she personified the meaning of speaking truth to power.

The funeral service for anti-apartheid struggle icon Madikizela-Mandela is underway at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

The special official funeral commenced with the singing of the National anthem.

More than 20 African countries are presented.