Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (born Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela), ex-wife of Nelson Mandela has passed away after a long illness that kept her visiting the hospital too many times in the past year. Zodwa Zwane, her Personal Assistant confirmed the death on Easter Monday. Her family released a statement this afternoon saying, “It is with profound sadness that we inform the public that Mrs. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital‚ Johannesburg‚ South Africa on Monday, April 2‚ 2018. She died after a long illness‚ for which she had been in and out of the hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.”
Details of the memorial and funeral services will be released by the family once arrangements are concluded. Apart from being the ex-wife of the late Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela was a strong activist and politician who held a number of governmental positions and was the head of the African National Women’s League. She was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, including 27 years during which he was imprisoned.
Born on 26 September 1936 in eMbongweni, in what is now South Africa’s Eastern Province. She was the fourth of eight children born to two teachers. Her father Columbus was a history teacher, her mother Gertrude a domestic science teacher. She lost her mother at the age of nine and was sent off to live with relatives. She went on to excel academically and ended up with a degree in social work and later, a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Witwatersrand.
She met Nelson Mandela in 1957, they got married in 1958 and she bore him two daughters. Winnie Mandela was no stranger to scandal and controversy, but it is agreed that she was a phenomenal woman and a role model to African women.