Known as the “Mother of South Africa’, Winnie Mandela referred to Israel as an Apartheid state. (Photo: Telesur)

South Africa’s Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, an anti-apartheid stalwart and wife to Nelson Mandela when he was imprisoned on Robben Island, died Monday, her personal assistant Zodwa Zwane said. She was 81.

During her husband’s 27-year incarceration, Madikizela-Mandela campaigned tirelessly for his release and for the rights of black South Africans, suffering years of detention, banishment and arrest by the white authorities.

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 Feb. 11, 1990.

For husband and wife, it was a crowning moment that led four years later to the end of centuries of white domination when Mandela became South Africa’s first black president.

Born on Sept. 26, 1936, in Bizana, Eastern Cape province, Madikizela-Mandela became politicized at an early age in her job as a hospital social worker.

“I started to realize the abject poverty under which most people were forced to live, the appalling conditions created by the inequalities of the system,” she once said.

Winnie Mandela was a tireless advocate for Palestine and called Israel an Apartheid state. Endeared by her people as the “Mother of South Africa” her country has fought for the rights of Palestinians and dismantling of the occupation for decades.

(Telesur, PC, Social Media)

 

 





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