Monday, 02 April 2018
Johannesburg: South African anti-apartheid campaigner and struggle veteran, Winnie Madikizela Mandela has died aged 81.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela was the former wife of South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela, post apartheid era in 1994. The couple was famouslyincl pictured hand-in-hand as Mr Mandela walked free from prison after 27 years. They were also a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for nearly three decades, where Winnie spent most of her life being harrased and tortured by apartheid police, whilst Nelson was incarcerated at Robben Island prison.
It was through the later parts of 1980’s , after the formation of a soccer team (Mandela United Football Club), that her reputation became tainted legally and politically, even been asked to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Despite all that, she remained respected, loyal and honoured in the African National Congress (ANC) ranks.
Minister, Jeff Radebe said: “She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones; at Netcare Milpark Hospital.”
Mrs Madikizela Mandela was born in 1936 in the Eastern Cape, then known as Transkei. She was a trained social worker when she met her future husband in the 1950s. They were married for a total of 38 years, although for almost three decades of that time they were separated due to Mr Mandela’s imprisonment.
Despite their separation, two years after his release, and their divorce in 1996, she kept his surname and maintained ties with him.
She held several government positions, including as Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. A member of the African National Congress (ANC) party, she served on the ANC’s National Executive Committee and headed its Women’s League.
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