Winnie Madikizela-Mandela dies at 81

Reading Time: 4 minutes

ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has died. The 81 year old was admitted to the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg over the weekend.

She had complained of flu. Madikizela-Mandela still attended a church service in Soweto on Easter Friday.

Last month she accompanied ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa during a voter registration drive in Soweto.

Madikizela-Mandela’s health has deteriorated over the last few years. She suffered from diabetes and underwent several major surgeries.

Madikizela-Mandela was the ex-wife of former president Nelson Mandela. She held several government positions and headed the ANC Women’s League.

The Family Media statement:

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 the 2nd of April 2018.

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.

Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was one of the greatest icons of the struggle against Apartheid. She fought valiantly against the Apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country. Her activism and resistance to Apartheid landed her in jail on numerous occasions, eventually causing her banishment to the small town of Brandfort in the then Orange Free State.

She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the Struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognisable faces. She dedicated most of her adult life to the cause of the people and for this was known far and wide as the Mother Of The Nation.

The Mandela family are deeply grateful for the gift of her life and even as our hearts break at her passing, we urge all those who loved her to celebrate this most remarkable woman.

The family will release details of the memorial and funeral services once these have been finalised.

A Look at Winnie Mandela life

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela a struggle icon who has risen as many times as she has fallen.

Often referred to as the Mother of the Nation, Winnie earned this title because, not only she was strongly opposed to the apartheid regime, but she was also able to give to those less fortunate than her, despite the many challenges she faced.

She has lived the life of a widow who struggled to raise her children single-handedly while her former husband, the late President Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned. She has soldiered on as a political activist throughout the decades, sometimes rising, and sometimes falling.

She was the first black medical social worker at Baragwanath Hospital and is currently a member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC), after

being absent from politics for years, following her convictions on murdered Stompie Moeketsi (1988) and fraud in 2003.

She and Mandela divorced after he became the president in 1994, having separated two years prior to Mandela’s presidency.

Madikizela-Mandela was never the first lady of South Africa although she was still married to Mandela at the time he became president in May 1994.Their divorce was finalised on 19 March 1996.

Lately her health was deteriorating and she was in and out of hospital. Prior to going to the clinic, she was uncomfortable and complaining of loss of appetite and that one of her legs was painful.

Upon admission, it was discovered that she had an infection that had affected her kidneys. She underwent a number of operations and recently she was home and had honoured a number of visits.