BBC News is reporting that Winnie Mandela, the ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela and an icon in the fight against apartheid in her own right, has died at the age of 81.
Her publicist‚ Zodwa Zwane‚ confirmed the death on Monday afternoon local time and said the family would be issuing a statement later in the day, according to Herald Live.
Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela-Mandela‚ born in Bizana in the Eastern Cape in 1936‚ moved to Johannesburg to study social work after graduating. She met lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in 1957 and they were married a year later. They had two children together.
Her marriage to Mandela was interrupted six years later‚ as he was arrested in 1963 and sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. Mandela was eventually released in 1990.
During Mandela’s time in prison‚ Winnie Mandela’s anti-apartheid fight continued on. She was placed under house arrest and at one time banished to Brandfort‚ a town in the Free State.
In 1969‚ she became one of the first detainees under Section 6 of the notorious Terrorism Act of 1967. She was detained for 18 months in solitary confinement in a condemned cell at Pretoria Central Prison before being charged under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950.
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