Winnie Mandela, former wife of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president has died aged 81.
South African anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Mandela has died aged 81 and the couple – famously pictured hand-in-hand as Mr. Mandela walked free from prison after 27 years – were a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for nearly three decades.
However, in later years her reputation became tainted legally and politically.
Zodwa Zwane‚ her personal assistant, confirmed her death Monday afternoon.
“It is with profound sadness that we inform the public that Mrs. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital‚ Johannesburg‚ South Africa on Monday, April 2‚ 2018,” he said in a statement.
She died after a long illness‚ for which she had been in and out of the hospital since the start of the year.
“She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones,” her family said in a statement.
Born in Bizana in the Eastern Cape in 1936‚ she moved to Johannesburg to study social work after matriculating.
She met her husband in 1957 and they were married a year later.