South Africa's Winnie Madikizela-Mandela dies at 81

Winnie was hospitalised in January in South Africa.

Her PA‚ Zodwa Zwane‚ confirmed the struggle veteran’s death on Monday afternoon to the South Africa State media. She said the family would issue a statement later in the day.

The news comes less than three months after Winnie was rushed to hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a kidney infection.

Long illness

In a statement at the time, her family described the symptoms she had suffered, and stressed she was expected to make a full recovery.

The statement said: "Prior to going to the clinic she was uncomfortable and complaining of loss of apetite and that one of her legs was painful.

"Upon admission it was discovered that she had an infection and that it had affected her kidneys."

It added: "She is expected to make a full recovery and should spend approximately a week in hospital .

"She is constantly surrounded by family and is in high spirits."

Apartheid politics

Winnie, a member of the ANC's National Executive Committee, had to be admitted to hospital in October last year for a procedure on her knee.

Born in Bizana in the Eastern Cape in 1936‚ she moved to Johannesburg to study social work after matriculating.

She met lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in 1957 and they were married a year later. They had two children together.

However‚ her marriage life with Mandela was short-lived‚ as he was arrested in 1963 and sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. Mandela was eventually released in 1990.

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