Africa’s “Mother of the Nation,” Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela, died April 2 at a hospital in Johannesburg, 81old.
Her family confirmed the death in a statement and said she had been hospitalized for an illness earlier this year. She was described as „ beautiful and violent.” She stayed in Soweto, the black township southwest of Johannesburg. Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, she served many roles in the South African government, from member of Parliament to the head of the ANC Women’s League. But she criticized the African National Congress , the political party that she also called her “family” , most recently condemning it for the continued economic disparity that has left millions of black South Africans in poverty. Soon after Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela obtained her social-work degree from the Jan Hofmeyr School in Johannesburg, she met Nelson Mandela and then she became immersed in the resistance that would define modern-day South Africa.
Winnie and Nelson Mandela
The couple lived within the struggle against the Apartheid regime as it instituted ever more oppressive laws. Winnie’s first incarceration came in 1958, when she joined mass protests against laws that limited black women’s mobility. She continued to battle the legal system for the rest of her life. Her international profile grew. In January 2018, the University Council and University Senate of Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, the top-most academic and administrative organs of the university, approved the award of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Winnie Nomzano Madikizela-Mandela, in recognition of her fight against apartheid in South Africa.