The world lost one of its great leaders – controversial South African activist and former SA First Lady Winnie Mandela.
The wife of the great social justice leader Nelson Mandela, Winnie made a name for herself in her own right as a defender of black South Africans during the brutal apartheid period.
Having married global icon Nelson Mandela at 23, the African feminist and Mother of the nation supported Mandela’s cause whilst he was imprisoned in Robin Island, keeping the freedom movement alive whilst her husband was away.
Known for her radical politics, Winnie became a polarising figure in her later years. She was found guilty of kidnapping and sentenced to six years' imprisonment for her involvement in the death of 14-year-old township militant Stompie Seipei. Her and Nelson Mandela divorced, having two daughters after 23 years of marriage together. She still kept his surname and her ties with the great leader up until his death but contested the terms in his will. In 2003, she was also convicted of fraud.
In today’s era, we are truly seeing that our leaders are not exactly perfect. However, Winnie’s contribution to human rights has earned her forgiveness from the people of South Africa who appreciate her significant contributions to bringing the country together.
Despite a slightly tainted reputation, the entertainment world has paid tribute to Winnie Mandela. Supermodel Naomi Campbell posted a picture of Winnie and Nelson Mandela’s heartwarming wedding photo with a caption giving thanks for her sacricfice. Rapper Giggs also posted a picture paying his respects.
Winnie was an inspiration to many, fighting hard to push for social justice in her country. May she Rest In Power.
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