She was born in Bizana in 1936. She moved to Johannesburg for her studies some years later, where she had met Nelson Mandela in 1957. The pair would marry in 1958 and have two kids over the course of their marriage.
Nelson Mandela would be arrested and sentenced to life in prison for treason in 1963. Apartheid forces would also punish Madikizela-Mandela; she was placed under house arrest. At one point in, she was also exiled to Brandfort, a town in the Free State.
Mandela would be released in 1990, with Winnie famously picture walking hand-in-hand with him after 27 years. Unfortunately, the couple would get divorced in 1996 with Winnie keeping Nelson’s surname.
In the announcement of Winnie’s death on Monday afternoon, Victor Dlamini, a spokesperson for the family said, “She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of the hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.”