BREAKING: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passes away at 81

BREAKING: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passes away at 81

- Winne Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of late South African leader Nelson Mandela, has died at the age of 81

- She made a major contribution to the struggle movement in South Africa

- Madikizela-Mandela was an MP since the first democratic elections in 1994

Ex-wife of former legendary South African leader Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has died at the age of 81.

This has been confirmed by her personal assistant Zodwa Zwane. The family will be issuing a statement later today, April 2.

She was born in Bizana, Eastern Cape, in 1939 and moved to Johannesburg after she matriculated to study social work.

It was there that she met the enigmatic lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in 1957. A year later they were married and they had two children together.

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When Mandela was in prison Winnie campaigned for his release but her activities resulted in the apartheid police placing her under house arrest.

In 1969, Madikizela-Mandela was detained for 18 months in solitary confinement and was the first detainee under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act of 1967. She was later charged under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950.

Controversy

In 1991, she was convicted on charges of kidnapping and assault after her bodyguards abducted Stompie Seipei in 1989, Seipei was only 14-years-old. He later died at the hands of one of the bodyguards.

She was sentenced to six years but this was reduced to a fine and two years imprisonment.

Nelson Mandela's release

Her relationship with Nelson Mandela began to deteriorate soon after his release from prison. After 36 years of marriage, they got divorced in 1996.

She had been an MP ever since the first democratic elections in 1994. In 2016, she was conferred with the Order of Luthuli in Silver for her contribution to the liberation of South Africa.

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