Struggle icon Winnie Mandela dies

Winnie Mandela (Gille de Vlieg)

Winnie Mandela (Gille de Vlieg)

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Monday, April 2 after a long illness.

Victor Dlamini, a spokesperson for the Mandela family confirmed in a media statement.

Born in Bizana in the Eastern Cape in 1936‚ Madikizela-Mandela moved to Johannesburg to study social work after matriculating.

In 1957, she met lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela and they married a year later and had two children together.

The marriage was short-lived‚ 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‚ Madikizela-Mandela was not spared from the brutality of apartheid forces. She was placed under house arrest and at one time banished, along with her infant daughter Zindzi, to Brandfort, a town in the Free State. In 1969‚ Madikizela-Mandela became one of the first detainees under Section 6 of the 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.

The picture of her hand-in-hand with Mandela as he walked free from prison after 27 years, became one of the most recognisable symbols of the anti-apartheid struggle.

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

This story will be updated as more details emerge.
Kiri Rupiah

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