Capetown: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of former South African leader Nelson Mandela, has died at the age of 81,
Madikizela-Mandela was married to Nelson Mandela from 1958 to 1996. Mandela was imprisoned throughout most of their marriage at the notorious Robben Island, and Madikizela-Mandela’s own activism against the apartheid regime led to her being imprisoned for months and years under house arrest.
In the statement released Monday, Madikizela-Mandela’s family said she had “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.”
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the controversial former wife of legendary South African President Nelson Mandela, died Monday, her family said. She was 81. “She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones,” the family said in a statement. Madikizela-Mandela, known as “Mamma Winnie,” had been ill for several years and was hospitalized recently with kidney problems, the South African website Eyewitness News said.
She was married to the human rights icon from 1958 until their divorce in 1996. For 27 years of their marriage, he was imprisoned by the minority-white apartheid regime.
The couple separated after Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990, and he became president of South Africa in 1994. He accused his wife of infidelity. After the divorce, she kept his name and added her maiden name. Nelson Mandela died in 2013.