Former president, Thabo Mbeki says the life of the struggle icon, Winnie Madikizela Mandela must be celebrated together with the collective of women that fought alongside her during the apartheid era.

The 81-year-oldĀ Mam Winnie died in Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon.

The mother of the nation as she was affectionately known released a book in 2013 about the struggles she and others had endured when fighting for the country’s democracy.

Mbeki says: “When you talk about people who engaged in struggle and ready to sacrifice, sure she is part of that.”

“But I think we need to put her in that collective because in celebrating her I think we need to talk in those terms and not to individualise the struggle but to say she is part of this collective and out of this collective of which she was an important part what lessons who we draw as the country.”

“People in struggle during the same years that Winnie was in struggle, there were many other women who were in struggle during the same years who might not have gotten as much exposure as she did,” says Mbeki.