- Winnie Mandela was born on this day in 1936
- She is celebrated as the mother of the nation after her activism during the apartheid era
- She passed away in April last year after a long illness
Today we remember the mother of democratic South Africa, uMama Winnie Mandela, who would have turned 83 today. She is known for her brave actions against the apartheid government and helping to pave the way for female activists.
Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa took to social media to praise her for her contributions to a free and fair South Africa.
"Mama weSizwe, you have been gone for some time but your people have never forgotten you. Your spirit lives on in our hearts."
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was born on 26 September, 1936 and died on 2 April last year. She was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician, and the second wife of Nelson Mandela. She served as a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 2003 and from 2009 until her death. Madikizela-Mandela was known to her supporters as the "Mother of the Nation".
Born in Bizana, she qualified as a social worker and married Nelson Mandela in 1958. They were married for 38 years and had two children. In 1963, after Mandela was imprisoned following the Rivonia Trial, she became his public face during the 27 years he spent in jail. During that period, she rose to prominence within the domestic anti-apartheid movement. She was detained by apartheid state security services on various occasions, tortured and banished to spend several months in solitary confinement.
In the mid-1980s she was at the centre of what was known as a "reign of terror" in Soweto, which led to condemnation by the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. During this period, her home was burned down by residents of Soweto.
At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Madikizela-Mandela was accused of endorsing the necklacing of alleged police informers and apartheid government collaborators, and her security detail carried out kidnapping, torture, and murder.
Nelson Mandela was released from prison on 11 February, 1990, and the couple separated in 1992; their divorce was finalised in March, 1996.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela died at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on 2 April, 2018. She suffered from diabetes and had recently undergone several major surgeries.
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