Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, activist against apartheid and wife of South African political leader Nelson Mandela, has passed away at the age of 81. The news was brought forth through her personal assistant and then her family after suffering from a long illness. The statement confirming her death said, “Mrs. Madkikizela-Mandela was one of the greatest icons in the struggle against Apartheid. She fought valiantly against the Apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country. 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 woman.”
Being a social worker who denied herself of furthering her education, Mandela decided to humbly work at one of the hospitals is Soweto, Baragwanath. It was shortly after that she met Nelson Mandela, both having a mutual interest and just zeal to fight against racial segregation in South Africa. This fight continued even after Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, being held hostage for over thirty years, and multiple times of Mandela being held in solitary confinement for her boldness against racial injustice, one of the times occurring during her first pregnancy. Because of her stance for truth, she was given the name “Mother of the Nation.”
The statement would go on to read, “She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognizable faces.” Though Nelson and Winnie fought for justice together, the couple divorced in 1996, but that would not stop Winnie from fighting the good fight and she remained an anti-apartheid activist.
Her courageous acts will stand immortal in the fight for racial unity. “The Mother of the Nation” is now gone but, like Malcolm X, MLK, and her ex-husband Nelson Mandela, her legacy continues to shine through the darkness that is racial segregation. Because of her influence, many have stepped up to the plate to take a stand against this demonic hatred called racism and many will continue to do so in the future.
Above: Winnie with her husband, Nelson Mandela