Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the age of 81 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She died peacefully in the hospital after a long illness, according to her family.
“‘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,'” reports NBC News of the family’s statement.
Madikizela-Mandela and her husband, Nelson Mandela, fought against apartheid for decades. He spent 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid activities. During his incarceration, she continued their fight for the rights of blacks in South Africa.
In recent years, she often clashed with authorities who sought to undermine her reputation as an activist “against the white-minority regime.” They were responsible for running Africa’s foremost economy for more than half a century, ending in 1994.
When apartheid ended there was a series of political and legal issues for Madikizela-Mandela. Moreover, as an influential actor in creating a somewhat safer life for South-African blacks, she found herself continuously under a spotlight, which regaled tales of her elegant lifestyle. Unfortunately, this spotlight kept her stalwart political history out of the public eye.
In a tweet, the ANC Parliment announced Madikizela-Mandela’s death and called her an icon for the struggle. They closed with #RIPMamaWinnie.
By Cathy Milne
NBC News: South African anti-apartheid stalwart Winnie Mandela dies at 81
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