SOUTH AFRICA — Winnie Madikizela Mandela, the former wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela passed away at 81.
Family spokesman Victor Dlamini said in a statement: “She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year.
Mrs. Winnie Madikizela Mandela was born in 1936 in the Eastern Cape – then known as Transkei.
She was a trained social worker when she met her future husband in the 1950s. They were married for a total of 38 years – including his 27 years of imprisonment. She became a symbol for the anti-apartheid movement in her own right
The couple divorced in 1996, but she kept his surname and maintained ties with him.