S.Africa's anti-apartheid activist Winnie Mandela passes away

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Winnie Madikizela Mandela, ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, gestures to supporters at the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa December 16, 2017. [File photo/VCG]

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg, on Monday, said the statement released by Mandela's family.

Winnie died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year.

She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones, said the statement.

Madikizela-Mandela was one of the greatest icons of the struggle against Apartheid. She fought valiantly against the Apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country. Her activism and resistance to Apartheid landed her in jail on numerous occasions, eventually causing her banishment to the small town of Brandfort in the then Orange Free State, it said.

Winnie 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.

She dedicated most of her adult life to the cause of the people and for this was known far and wide as the Mother Of The Nation, added the statement. 

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