Winnie Mandela, South African anti-apartheid campaigner and Nelson Mandela’s former wife passed away on April 2, 2018. She was 81.

Family spokesperson 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. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.

“She fought valiantly against the apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country,” the statement said.

“She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognisable faces.”

Known as the “mother of the nation” and had been admitted to hospital in January with a kidney infection.

Winnie Mandela has left a legacy as one of most central figures in the anti-apartheid movement.

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Know more about her:

Born in 1936 in the Eastern Cape, she was then known as Transkei – the daughter of a history teacher. They moved to Johannesburg in 1953 to study social work.

After completing university, she became the first qualified social worker at Johannesburg’s Baragwanath Hospital.

It was during this time, she met her future husband in the 1950s. They were married for a total of 38 years. However, the couple remained separated for most of the time due to Mr Mandela’s imprisonment.

Despite their separation two years after his release, and their divorce in 1996, she kept his surname and maintained ties with him.

She has left a legacy as one of most central figures in the anti-apartheid movement.

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Pic Credit: The Standard

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