Winnie Mandela, the former wife of the late President Nelson Mandela and South African anti-apartheid activist has died at the age of 81, a family member revealed.
According to the family spokesman Victor Dlamini said in a statement: “She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of 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 couple – famously pictured hand-in-hand as Mr Mandela walked free from prison after 27 years – were a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for nearly three decades.
The couple were divorced in 1996, two years after Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black President. They had two daughters together.
Winnie was a trained social worker when she met her future husband in the 1950s.
Despite their separation two years after his release, and their divorce in 1996, she kept his surname and maintained ties with him.