Winnie Mandela dead at 81: Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife dies

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Winnie Mandela dead at 81 after battle with illness in hospital

SOUTH African anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has died aged 81, her spokesman confirmed on Monday.

Victor Dlamini said in a statement she died in a Johannesburg hospital after a long illness. Her family is expected to speak later in the day.

The ex-wife of Nelson Mandela was known as “mother of the nation” and had been admitted to hospital in January with a kidney infection.

The young activist met Nelson Mandela at a bus stop in Soweto when she was 22 years old in 1957 and the pair married a year later.

They were married for 38 years in a romance that was spent largely apart with Nelson imprisoned for 27 years leaving Winnie to raise their two daughters and keep his political dream alive.

In 1990 the world watched when Nelson Mandela finally walked out of prison — hand in hand with Winnie.

But they separated just two years later and divorced in 1996 after a legal wrangle that revealed her affair with a young bodyguard and she went on to become embroiled in several controversies.

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