Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: Anti-apartheid campaigner dies at 81

South African anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has died aged 81, her personal assistant says.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was the former wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela.

The couple – famously pictured hand-in-hand as Mr Mandela walked free from prison after 27 years – were a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for nearly three decades.

However, in later years her reputation became tainted legally and politically.

Family spokesman Victor Dlamini said Mrs Mandela “succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones” following a long illness, which had seen her go in and out of hospital since the start of the year.

Retired archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu praised her as a “defining symbol of the struggle against apartheid”.

“Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists,” he added.

Media captionThe BBC’s Mike Wooldridge watches as Nelson Mandela was released from prison

President Cyril Ramaphosa – who Mrs Madikizela-Mandela praised earlier this year – is expected to visit the family home this evening, African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Gwede Mantashe said.

He added: “With the departure of Mama Winnie, [we have lost]one of the very few who are left of our stalwarts and icons. She was one of those who would tell us exactly what is wrong and right, and we are going to be missing that guidance.”

Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was born in 1936 in the Eastern Cape – then known as Transkei.

She was a trained social worker when she met her future husband in the 1950s. They were married for a total of 38 years, although for almost three decades of that time they were separated due to Mr Mandela’s imprisonment.

It was Mrs Madikizela-Mandela who took his baton after he was jailed for life, becoming an international symbol of resistance to apartheid and a rallying point for poor, black township residents who demanded their freedom.

Five years later, she too was jailed by the white minority government she was fighting against.

But Mrs Madikizela-Mandela – an icon of the struggle – also found herself mired in controversy.

She was heard backing the practice of “necklacing” – putting burning tyres around suspected informants’ necks – and was accused of conducting a virtual reign of terror in parts of Soweto by other members of the ANC in the late 1980s.

Winnie Mandela raises her fist in a black power salute after announcing that a massive pop concert will be held to mark the 70th birthday of her husband in 1988Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionMrs Madikizela-Mandela (pictured in 1988) became a symbol for the anti-apartheid movement in her own right

She was also found guilty of kidnapping and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for her involvement in the death of 14-year-old township militant Stompie Seipei. She always denied the allegation, and the sentence was reduced to a fine.

Mr Mandela, who stood by her throughout the accusations, was finally released from prison in February 1990.

But two years later, their marriage crumbled. The couple divorced in 1996, but she kept his surname and maintained ties with him.-BBC

Home Affairs Minister Says Grace Mugabe Is Lying , Nothing Stolen From Her Orphanage

GOVERNMENT has dismissed claims by former First Lady Grace Mugabe that gold panners had invaded her citrus farm in Mazowe, saying instead, she was embroiled in a mining dispute with three mining syndicates.


Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu told journalists in Bulawayo yesterday that police could not intervene in the dispute, as the mining syndicates were armed with a High Court order barring police and law enforcement agents from interfering with their mining operations.

Grace on March 29 filed a report at Mazowe Police Station alleging that 400 illegal miners had invaded her farm, and vandalised irrigation equipment.

The following day, she filed another report claiming the panners had broken into her orphanage and stolen 31 laptops.

However, Mpofu yesterday disputed the claims and accused Grace of lying.

“The ZRP attended the scene on March 30 and 31, 2018 and established through interviews and physical checks that there were no illegal miners at the children’s home and lemon plantation,” Mpofu said.

“The enquiries revealed that there is a mining dispute between the former First Family and three mining syndicates, Mondo 3, led by Bright Maonga, Mondo 4 mining claim, led by Shepherd Nyazvingo, and Xmas 159, led by Mohammed Khan. The syndicates went to the High Court and obtained a provisional order which bars police and Gushungo Holdings from interfering with their mining operations, High Court order HC 293/18 refers.”

On the alleged theft of 31 laptops by the suspected illegal panners, Mpofu said eight laptops were stolen on March 2 by the former First Lady’s employees, who have since been arrested, dragged to court and sentenced.

“On March 2, 2018, the caretaker at Amai Mugabe School in Mazowe noticed that eight laptops were missing from the storeroom and informed the school administrator on March 6, 2018. A report was subsequently made to the police on March 8, 2018.

“Police officers attended the scene and established that there was no sign of physical break-in and indications were that duplicate keys had been used to gain entry. This showed that the offence was an inside job,” Mpofu said.

He added that Grace’s two employees, Amos Masimure (29) and Wilson Pomba (32), were arrested for unlawful entry and theft, leading to the recovery of six of the laptops.
Masimure appeared at Bindura Magistrates’ Court on March 14, was found guilty and sentenced to two-and-half years in jail.

He was also ordered to “restitute complainant a sum of $1 500 before 30 April”.

Pomba was granted $50 bail and further remanded to April 9 for trial.