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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, anti-apartheid campaigner, dies

05 April 2018

"She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones", the family said in a statement.

Madikizela-Mandela and Machel have always maintained that they have a strong bond, despite a much-publicised dispute over the ownership of Madiba's Qunu home following his death, and his will, which favoured Machel over his former wife. As a member of the African National Congress (ANC) political party, she served on the ANC's National Executive Committee and headed its Women's League.

"Mam' Winnie was in her element as she reminisced on the bygone struggle days - when the guiding principles were loyalty and service to our people, especially the downtrodden ones", said De Bruyn.

In the 1990s, she was also forced to step down from post-apartheid government positions over allegations of corruption, and, later, a fraud conviction.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela died Monday at age 81.

The family said it will release details of her memorial and funeral services when they are finalized.

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She was described as the "mother of the nation" for her contribution to the country's liberation in the 27-years while her then husband was imprisoned.

"I take solace in the fact that you have risen to become one of the brightest stars in the sky where you will remain ever present and radiantly shining". The organisation on countless occasions wrote to Nelson in prison asking his advice, but he too was left floundering.

Ms Madikizela-Mandela was persecuted by the apartheid government, and venerated by many South Africans, because of her activism against white minority rule.

Her death came as a shock.

"UPC extends its honest condolences to the family, ANC, South Africa, and the rest of the world for such a great loss of an icon and heroine who shall take generations upon generations to replace", he said.

He told local media that she was "an outstanding activist", but that she had made major mistakes when she ran the notoriously brutal gang called the "Mandela United Football Club". "I was taken aback, to know that I had lived to meet and see her, and being able to touch the was everything to me, the women who were there were elated and inspired by Winnie's work, and it was an empowering moment for us as women".

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Madikizela-Mandela, was only mentioned in the parts of the will made public in relation to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The People's National Party hailed Mandela as an outstanding figure in the fight against apartheid.

"She travelled a very long road together with our founder‚ Nelson Mandela".

"I think she's a hero of the struggle".

Instead, she endorsed the "necklacing" method of killing suspected informers and police with fuel-doused tyres put around the neck and set alight. But within a couple of years the marriage had collapsed amid talk of Winnie's adultery.

She was South Africa's first black university-educated social worker - but suffered beatings, detention and torture while her husband was in prison for decades.

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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, anti-apartheid campaigner, dies