Crowds celebrate Winnie Mandela's life at Soweto memorial service

Mourners gather in Soweto for the memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Soweto, South Africa (CNN)Thousands of mourners gathered Wednesday in South Africa for a public memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the anti-apartheid campaigner and former wife of the late President Nelson Mandela.

The memorial in Soweto comes ahead of a funeral service to be held on Saturday.
Madikizela-Mandela died in a Johannesburg hospital on April 2 at the age of 81, after what her family said was a long illness. She was known as the "Mother of the Nation" because of her struggle against white minority rule in South Africa.
South African students sing and dance with other mourners at the memorial service.