Nelson Mandela’s wife Winnie Mandela passed away on Monday in the early hours, April 2. As per family, she was 81. Soon after her death, family in a statement said, “she succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.” As per local media, she was not well from last several years and was admitted to the hospital for the kidney problem treatment. Winnie got married to former president Nelson Mandela in 1958, but she parted her ways with the South African human rights icon in 1996. Both of them spent 38 years together. Mandela was in the jail for 27 years and became president of South Africa in 1990. 5 years back, he died in 2013.
Known as the mother of the nation, Winnie dedicated most of her adult life for the betterment of people. The family 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 recognizable faces”. Winnie joined the struggle against apartheid led by Mandela, she even worked as a hospital worker in the 1950s. She was also sent to jail for many years and tortured and she faces constant security threats. However, her controversial statements promoted violence and she was accused in a murder case and a convict in bank fraud case.
The South African authorities arrested her in 1969 under the Suppression of Terrorism Act, she was tortured in the jail for a long time. According to a biography in South Africa History Online, there was a time when police used to raid at her home even more than 4 times a day. She was even banned from leaving home.
Winnie’s former bodyguard in 1997 claimed that he beat, tortured and killed people whenever she told him to. In 2003, she was sentenced to 4 years in prison on dozens of counts of theft and bank fraud. A court also convicted her in a case related to fraud.