South African anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Mandela has died aged 81, her personal assistant says. She 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.
Her family are expected to release a statement later today.
Born in Bizana in the Eastern Cape in 1936‚ Winnie Mandela moved to Johannesburg to study social work after matriculating.
She met lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in 1957 and they were married a year later. They had two children together.
However‚ her marriage life with Mandela was short-lived‚ as he was arrested in 1963 and sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. Mandela was eventually released in 1990.
During Mandela’s time in prison‚ Madikizela-Mandela was not spared the reach of the apartheid forces. She was placed under house arrest and at one time banished to Brandfort‚ a town in the Free State.
In 1969‚ Madikizela-Mandela became one of the first detainees under Section 6 of the notorious Terrorism Act of 1967. She was detained for 18 months in solitary confinement in a condemned cell at Pretoria Central Prison before being charged under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950.