Winnie Madikizela Mandela was the former wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela.
Here are ten things you should know about Winnie Mandela:
1. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela) was born on 26 September 1936.
2. She was born in the village of eMbongweni, Bizana, Pondoland, in what is now the Eastern Cape Province. She was the fourth of eight children, which consisted of seven sisters and a brother.
3. She earned her degree in social work in 1956, and several years later earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Witwatersrand.
4. She was member of the African National Congress (ANC) party, she served on the ANC’s National Executive Committee and headed its Women’s League.
5. In 1958, she married anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg; they remained married for 38 years and had two children together.
6. While Nelson Mandela was in the prison, she was arrested and detained by state security services on various occasions and spent several months in solitary confinement.
7. Nelson Mandela was released from prison on 11 February 1990, and the couple separated in 1992 but remained officially married until their divorce was finalised in March 1996.
8. As a senior ANC figure, she took part in the post-apartheid ANC government, although was dismissed from her post amid allegations of corruption.
9. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission established by Mandela’s government to investigate past human rights abuses revealed many of her violent activities during the 1980s; which damaged her reputation. In 2003, she was convicted of theft and fraud. She temporarily retreated from active political involvement although returned several years later.
10. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela died at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg‚ South Africa on April 2, 2018. Her death was confirmed by her personal assistant, Zodwa Zwane. The cause of her death was a “long-term illness”, according to her family.