Thousands of people gathered at the 40 000-seater Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday morning to honour the iconic freedom fighter.

While a sombre occasion, the mood was celebratory as mourners sang some of Mam’ Winnie’s favourite hymns and struggle songs.

READ MORE: A tribute to Winnie Madikizeka-Mandela’s style

Former president Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki were booed when programme director Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula acknowledged their presence, seemingly in reaction to Mbeki’s interview last week where he said Madikizela-Mandela shouldn’t be credited as an individual for her role in the struggle for freedom.

Zuma, who was booed even louder and for a longer period, has been blamed by many within his own political party for its dwindling support over the years.

READ MORE: Zoleka Mandela’s heartfelt tribute to Mam’ Winnie

EFF leader Julius Malema didn’t hold back his criticism during his address, pointing accusatory fingers of blame at the ANC, the ANC Women’s League and the Mass Democrative Movement for not supporting Mam’ Winnie while she was alive.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy before the funeral procession leaves for Fourways Memorial Park for the private burial.