Lifetime of struggle for woman who fought to end apartheid

Heartbeat actor Bill Maynard dies at 89 in March 2018

"She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones. according to reports from various media houses in South Africa and overseas".

They were married for 38 years but were separated for nearly three decades of that time due to Mandela's imprisonment.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela became a potent symbol of South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle when she was banished and jailed for campaigning for the rights of black South Africans and her husband's release.

Mr Mandela, who died in 2013, was imprisoned throughout most of their marriage and Ms Madikizela-Mandela's own activism against white minority rule led to her being imprisoned for months and placed under house arrest for years.

The first five turbulent years of their marriage saw Mandela going underground to build the armed struggle against apartheid, and finally to prison in 1963, while his wife gave birth to two daughters.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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"Mother of the Nation" Her resistance to harassment and championing of the anti-apartheid cause led to periods of imprisonment from 1969, much of it spent in solitary confinement.

"It is a tragedy that he lived and saw what was happening, we can not pretend like South Africa is not in crisis, our country is in crisis and anyone who can not see that is just bluffing themselves". She bore the air of a troublemaker, arriving late at rallies and haranguing comrades, including Thabo Mbeki, Mandela's successor as president.

Her death has left the entire country in mourning.

She was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, including the 27 years he was imprisoned on an island near Cape Town.

But at the same time she became known for an increasingly lavish lifestyle, arriving to testify at Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in a white Mercedes limousine surrounded by bodyguards.

Madikizela-Mandela will be honoured by a state funeral on April 14, preceded by an official memorial service on April 11, said President Cyril Ramaphosa after visiting her home in Johannesburg's Soweto township Monday evening.

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"The Mandela family are deeply grateful for the gift of her life and even as our hearts break at her passing we urge all those who loved her to celebrate this most remarkable South African woman". She spoke of how those were dark and frightening days, but she did not judge anyone who had not stood with her at times.

The conviction appeared to end her career: she quit Parliament and resigned from her posts as president of the ANC Woman's League and a member of the party's executive committee.

It was not unusual to see him at public events with her on one side and his third wife, Graca Machel, on the other.

Members of the ANC leadership accused her of being behind the killing and of conducting a virtual reign of terror in parts of Soweto.

It said Madikizela-Mandela would remain an embodiment of its values.

"And he shed tears to say that "we have chose to separate".

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