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ANC, government respond to the passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

ANC, government respond to the passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

There's a hint of a smile on her face.

Even before they were separated by Nelson Mandela's long stay in prison, she had become politicised, being jailed for two weeks while pregnant for participating in a women's protest against apartheid restrictions on blacks.

Mandela, approaching 40 and the father of three, declared on their first date that he would marry her.

"We will miss her".

"I didn't know how hard the path was going to be that was lying ahead of me".

Famously pictured hand-in-hand as Nelson Mandela walked free from prison after 27 years, the couple was a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for almost three decades before her reputation became tainted legally and politically, the BBC reported.

Winnie Mandela, pictured in 2010 at the funeral of anti-apartheid stalwart and women's rights activist Fatima Meer. And she also grew more isolated from the party during Jacob Zuma's tenure.

Before that, she had been jailed for 17 months for defying authority, 13 of which she spent in solitary confinement.

And although many South Africans called her the "Mother of the Nation", she would become engulfed in criminal convictions and scandals. She bore the air of a troublemaker, arriving late at rallies and haranguing comrades, including Thabo Mbeki, Mandela's successor as president. "She fought valiantly against the apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country", reads a statement from the family (via CNN).

She served our nation with distinction. One of them, Stompie Moeketsi, was murdered a few days later.

Some have even claimed Mandikizela-Mandela killed the boy herself.

In 2011, Madikizela-Mandela was the subject of a Hollywood biopic starring Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson, along with an opera that premiered in Pretoria, South Africa.

She remained steadfast and unbowed throughout, emerging to punch the air triumphantly in the clenched-fist salute of black power as she walked hand-in-hand with Mandela out of Cape Town's Victor Vester prison on February 11, 1990. Later, she would describe their marriage as a sham, criticising him for "softening" in prison.

She continued to tell the party "exactly what is wrong and what is right at any time", said senior ANC leader Gwede Mantashe.

The couple divorced in 1996, two years after Mandela became president in South Africa's first all-race elections.

On the day of her death, her legacy remains as tortuous as her life, which she reclaimed as her own - refusing to live under her hero husband's shadow. Winnie built her role as a tough, glamorous black activist with a loyal grassroots following.

She and her husband began a family before Nelson Mandela went underground and then was imprisoned for more than a quarter-century.

But she still enjoyed people's support. She also did not have a good relationship with the ANC during Thabo Mbeki's presidency. "In the midst of repression, she was a voice of defiance and resistance". Many South Africans admire her for that.

Although she remained in the political limelight, she was granted leave from parliament in March 2018 due to ill health. In 2009 and 2014 she was voted into the national assembly.

Other allegations of wrongdoing followed her until her final year.

After his death, he was buried in Qunu village close to where he was born.

Mandela was not a moderate when it came to transformation and ensuring that black people share the hope of a new dispensation in South Africa. He did not mention his former wife in his last will.


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