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.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson, who appeared on Live at 9 just moments before the news broke, spoke to WREG’s Alex Coleman and Marybeth Conley on her life.