03 April, 2018
In a televised address the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said that she was "voice of defiance" against white-minority rule and noted that she had the heart that many others in her country did not.
Only after pleading from anguished TRC chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu did she admit grudgingly that "things went horribly wrong".
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. As per local media, she was not well from last several years and was admitted to the hospital for the kidney problem treatment.
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe expressed condolences on behalf of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and urged those who loved her to celebrate her.
While the police harassment continued after her release from prison, Madikizela-Mandela's activism and public following continued to intensify until May 15 1977 when she was taken from her Soweto home by police and exiled to the small Free State town of Brandfort.
The former wife of Nelson Mandela, ANC activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has died aged 81. In addition, South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission accused her of involvement in horrific human rights abuses during the apartheid era.
In 1991, she was also convicted of kidnapping and assault over the killing of Stompie Moeketsi, a 14-year-old boy.
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Born on September 26, 1936, in Bizana, Eastern Cape province, Madikizela-Mandela became politicised at an early age in her job as a hospital social worker.
Dressed in full ANC colours of yellow, black and green, she asked Ramaphosa, who is known for his morning runs, "Why don't you get exhausted?" As a City, we shall continue preserving her legacy. "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'".
"For many years, she bore the brunt of senseless brutality of the apartheid state with stoicism", he said.
The couple had two children during their short lived marriage, which was interrupted by Mandela's arrest in 1963. During her husband's time in prison, she became an "international symbol of resistance to apartheid", according to the BBC.
Her PA‚ Zodwa Zwane‚ confirmed the struggle veteran's death on Monday afternoon.
"I was shocked and that's why we gathered - to make sure it was true", ANC Women's League official Winnie Ngwenya, 64, told AFP.
"The wife of a freedom fighter is often like a widow, even when her husband is not in prison", Mandela wrote. She had back surgery a year ago.