Winnie Mandela, South African anti-apartheid activist, dies at 81

Winnie Madikizela Mandela greeted a crowd in the Olievenhoutbosch squattercamp near Centurion South Africa in 1999

UPDATE: Social media tributes pour in for Winnie Mandela

- 1991: Madikizela-Mandela is found guilty and fined for the kidnapping of four Soweto youths and the killing of one by her team of bodyguards known as the "Mandela United Football Club".

In a statement by the office of the presidency, President Cyril Ramophosa said It is with a profound sense of loss and deep sadness that we have learnt of the passing away of Mam' Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

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

Leaders from across South Africa's political divide have travelled to the home of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to mourn her sudden death and pay tribute to the anti-apartheid icon's life of activism.

AmaMpondo King Ndamase Ndamase has lauded Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, saying he and his kingdom were "very proud" of the role their "princess played in the fight against the apartheid regime".

Madikizela-Mandela's funeral will be on April 14, with an official memorial service on April 11.

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Durban businessman Vivian Reddy called Mandela a close friend and confidant and remembered her as someone who believed that perseverance prevailed when all else failed.

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

Prime Minister Holness said Winnie Mandela's death brings into focus the significant struggle of black people throughout the world against racism and in particular apartheid in South Africa.

Crowds of mourners and political figures flocked to her home in Soweto, in Johannesburg, after news of her death broke. She and her family made an exceptional contribution to freedom in South Africa. "Unlike her former husband, this woman was brutal, evil and corrupt human being".

Speaking in her final interview last month, she said: "I would be extremely naive if I suggested to you that South Africa today is what we dreamed of when we gave up our lives ..."

"She was so much more that whatever her flaws were", Mashile added, pointing out how society allows male leaders to be flawed but doesn't extend the same courtesy to female leaders.

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