- Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is often referred to as the mother of our nation
- Winnie was a tireless freedom fighter and played an immeasurable part in liberating South Africa from apartheid
- We look at important dates which transformed Winnie into a legend
Winnie Madikizela Mandela died at the age of 81 on Monday after a long battle with illness. Winnie was often called the mother of our nation and will be remembered as a true legend of the struggle to end apartheid.
In recent years Winnie had become a vocal critic of the African National Congress (ANC) and on several occasions warned that the party was losing its way. Before her death, Winnie gave her blessing to President Cyril Ramaphosa and said she felt the ANC had found its way once more.
In this segment Briefly.co.za takes a look at some of the important dates in Winnie’s remarkable life, these events helped to shape her into a true South African legend.
Birth: Winnie was born in Bizana, Eastern Cape on 26 September 1936. She was the fourth of eight children. Her Xhosa name is Nomzamo which loosely translates to ‘she who tries’.
1953: Winnie moves to Johannesburg to attend the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social of Social Work. She completed her degree in social care in 1955, finishing top of her class. Winnie became the first qualified black member of staff at the Baragwanath Hospital later the same year.
1957: The 22-year-old Winnie meets a lawyer named Nelson Mandela at a bus stop. The pair gets romantically involved and marry in 1958.
1963: Winnie’s husband Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison during the Rivonia Trials. Nelson is sent to prison in August 1963. Winnie was slapped with a banning order which restricted her movements.
June 1963: Winnie visits Nelson in Prison for the first time.
1965: Winnie is hit with a severe banning order which restricts her movements to her neighbourhood of Orlando West in Soweto.
1969: Winnie starts what would ultimately turn into a year-and-a-half stint in solitary confinement in Pretoria Central Prison.
May 1973: Winnie is arrested for meeting with the banned photographer, Peter Magubane. She was sentenced to one year in prison for the offence.
1977: Winnie is effectively sent into exile. She is forced to spend the next eight years in the town of Brandfort in the Free State. She is only allowed to visit Nelson in prison on a couple of occasions. Winnie returns from exile in 1986.
1990: Winnie and Nelson Mandela walk side by side as he is released from prison after 27 years.
1991: Winnie is convicted of kidnapping Stompie, she initially receives a six-year prison sentence which is reduced to a fine on appeal.
1996: Winnie and Nelson’s marriage ends in divorce, the couple had been separated for nearly four years by that time. She adopts the surname Madikizela-Mandela after the divorce.
1997: Winnie appears before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, she is found guilty of being involved in multiple murders conducted by the Mandela United Football Club.
December 1997: Winnie is elected as the president of the ANC Women’s League for the second time.
2001: Winnie and then-president Thabo Mbeki are involved in a scuffle after she arrives late for a meeting.
2002: Winnie is re-elected to the ANC’s National Executive Committee.
2003: Winnie is found guilty on 43 charges of fraud and 25 charges of theft from a funeral fund. She was sentenced to five years behind bars, but on appeal, her sentence is reduced to a fine.
Winnie retired as a Member of Parliament (MP) and gave up all leadership positions within the ANC shortly after her conviction in 2003.
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The entire team at Briefly.co.za would like to salute Mama Winnie for her amazing life and lasting legacy. Visit our Facebook page where you can send us a message or leave us a comment. Your story could be shared online.