Although Winnie maintained her innocence with regards to Stompie’s murder and Jerry Richardson, the coach of the Mandela United Football Club (founded by Winnie), was ultimately charged with the murder, it somewhat blemished her reputation in the public eye.
She took her new surname, Madikizela-Mandela, after their divorce.
In 1990 the world watched when Nelson Mandela finally walked out of prison – hand in hand with Winnie.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela was the former wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela. She was sacked from her government post by Mandela in 1995, and would face down charges of assault and kidnapping related to her anti-apartheid activism in the early 1990s, and fraud and theft in the early 2000s.
When allowed to visit Mandela at Robben Island, she would travel over 1400 kilometres from Johannesburg to Robben Island, near Cape Town.
Nelson Mandela and Winnie had already separated when he became president; however, they did not divorce until two years later in 1996.
Together, Mandela and Ms Madikizela-Mandela were a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for almost three decades.
In a 2010 interview with the British Evening Standard newspaper, she criticized former archbishop Desmond Tutu and her former husband.
At a press conference late Monday afternoon, Methodist Church Minister Gary Rivas said Madikizela-Mandela was at church on Friday in Soweto, and again at church on Sunday, celebrating Easter.
When the court granted her freedom, she was immediately handed another ban of five years. She was sentenced to six years imprisonment, overturned and replaced with a controversial Rand15,000 [about £400] fine on appeal.
“We need to remind future generations that the Mandela legacy is not what you can make out of his name”.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela was born in 1936 in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. “In the face of exploitation, she was a champion of justice and equality”. She also sacrificed nearly three decades of her life during which she and uTata should have been free to go about their daily lives as a normal family with human rights and civil liberties.
Her assistant, Zodwa Zwana, first confirmed her death to the local daily The Times, while her family later released a statement in which it called Mandela “one of the greatest icons of the struggle against apartheid”.
“I was married to the ANC”.
“I can hardly remember her but I longed for her”, she wrote in her memoirs detailing a 491-day stint in prison.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor immediately after the graduation ceremony in January this year headed to South Africa to hand her a Makerere PhD gown.
“It’s unfortunate that in our lives we don’t interact very easily but I want to state very clearly that Winnie is my hero”. I was present at a press conference when he said the couple had agreed to part “in view of the tensions that have arisen owing to the differences between ourselves on a number of issues”. She met Nelson Mandela in 1957.
While Mandela supported his wife through her kidnapping trial, their marriage was already in trouble.
Madikizela-Mandela was a key figure in the fight to end the racist apartheid system in South Africa.
Years later, she clashed with the next president, Jacob Zuma, becoming a political patron of renegade ANC youth leader Julius Malema, who quit the century-old movement to found his own ultra-leftist political party.
Outside Africa, Madikizela-Mandela was known largely because of her ex-husband, but in South Africa she was the mouthpiece and face of the bitter struggle against the racist regime.