Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela's Ex-Wife, Dies at 81

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Winnie Mandela
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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of former South African leader Nelson Mandela who was a political force and contentious figure in her own right, has died at the age of 81, her family confirmed in statement on Monday.

Madikizela-Mandela was, along with her ex-husband, a key figure in the fight to end the racist apartheid system imposed on South Africa for decades by a white ruling class. She was married to Nelson Mandela during his incarceration at the notorious Robin Island prison.

To her many supporters, Madikizela-Mandela was known as "the mother of the nation," in spite of criminal convictions on charges ranging from fraud to kidnapping and assault.

She became a member of South Africa's parliament but the scandals saw her sharply criticized by the African National Congress party, which leads the country and which her late ex-husband led for years himself.

Winnie Mandela and Nelson Mandela separated in 1992 and were formally divorced in 1996.

This story was originally published by CBS News on April 2, 2018 at 10:24 a.m. ET. 

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