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Anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela dies at 81

South African state broadcaster SABC says anti-apartheid activist

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s state broadcaster says Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, prominent anti-apartheid activist and the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, has died. She was 81.

Madikizela-Mandela was married to Nelson Mandela from 1958 to 1996. Mandela was imprisoned throughout most of their marriage and Madikizela-Mandela’s own activism against the apartheid regime led to her being imprisoned for months and years under house arrest.

Her political activism was marred by a kidnapping and assault conviction in 1991, for which she was fined. She faced these allegations again during the 1997 hearings before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a panel that investigated apartheid-era crimes.

As a parliamentarian after South Africa’s first all-race elections, she was convicted of fraud. Still, she was widely venerated in South Africa for her role in fighting white minority rule.

Nelson Mandela died on Dec. 5, 2013.

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