81-Year-Old Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Passes Away

Activist Winnie Mandela, ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, dies, aged 81

Hundreds of people are dancing and singing in the streets of Soweto to pay tribute to South Africa's anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

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.

The African Renaissance Unity Party (A.R.U) has learnt with shock the sad news of the passing of Ms. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, South African icon and the Mother of the Nation. She was also sent to jail for many years and tortured and she faces constant security threats.

In 1992, the Mandelas separated, and then divorced in 1996, after a legal wrangle that revealed she had had an affair with a young bodyguard.

Retired archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu praised her as a "defining symbol of the struggle against apartheid".

Stunned community members start arriving at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's house in Soweto this afternoon. 5 years back, he died in 2013.

"Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists", he said. We had to wait for MK to return to SA, so we sent the Transkei defence force to guard him.

Her death, at the Netcare Milpark Hospital, was announced by her spokesman, Victor Dlamini. The African Renaissance Unity Party appreciates her guidance towards the governing party which along the way moved away from its goal, ensuring that the party does not forget that it exist for the people.

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But with husband and wife pouring their energies into the fight against apartheid, the relationship struggled before being torn apart after six years when Mandela was arrested and sentenced to life in prison.

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.

"I was married to the ANC".

"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". Unfortunately, we can never really know the truth. "Winnie is someone I respect highly", Machel once said.

When Madikizela-Mandela returned to her home in Soweto in 1985, breaking her banning orders, it was as a far more bellicose figure, determined to assume leadership of what became the decisive and most violent phase of the struggle.

Her conviction for theft was overturned a year later because she had not recognized any personal gain from her actions.

In recent years, she often clashed with authorities who sought to undermine her reputation as an activist "against the white-minority regime". Perhaps this was all to prepare her for the biggest blow that would eventually come: the infamous Rivonia Trial which resulted in the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela on Robben Island for close to three decades.

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