Nelson Mandela’s Ex-Wife, Winnie, Dies At 81

(FILES) This file photo taken on December 16, 2017 shows former wife of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela waving as she attends the 54th ANC National Conference at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg. South Africa's Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who is popularly known as "the mother of the nation" has been admitted to hospital with a kidney infection, the family of her ex-husband Nelson Mandela said January 23. / AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIENMUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images

Winnie Madikizela Mandela, former wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, has passed away.

Winnie, who was also an anti-apartheid campaigner, died at age eighty-one (81) in a Johannesburg hospital after a long illness on Monday afternoon,.

According to a statement by Victor Dlamini, a family spokesman: “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”, the statement added.

Winnie was born in 1936 in the Eastern Cape – then known as Transkei.

She was a trained social worker when she met her future husband in the 1950s and they were married for a total of thirty-eight years.

Although for almost three decades of that time they were separated due to Mandela’s imprisonment.

The deceased played a key part in the campaign to end white-minority rule but her reputation became tainted legally and politically years later following her divorce.

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