Johannesburg, South Africa – Winnie Mandela, South Africa’s former First Lady, passed away on Monday (April 2) as reported by the BBC. She was 81.
Family spokesman Victor Dlamini said she “succumbed peacefully in the early hours Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.” She reportedly died following a long illness.
The former wife Nelson Mandela — South Africa’s first black president — was synonymous with the anti-apartheid movement for over three decades. Due to her staunch political beliefs, she was ten kept under surveillance, tortured, thrown in solitary confinement for over a year and temporarily banished to a remote town. But she always remained steadfast in her convictions.
The couple wed in 1958 and had two daughters before Nelson was arrested in 1963. On February 11, 1990, she was photographed alongside her then-husband as he walked out prison after serving 27 years. Upon his release, they were ficially married for another six years before their divorce was finalized in 1996.
In 2016, South African President Jacob G. Zuma gave Mrs. Mandela one the country’s highest honors — the Order Luthuli — for her contributions made in the fight for democracy.
Several members the Hip Hop community took to social media to celebrate Mrs. Mandela’s achievements. Chuck D, Pharoahe Monch and Rapsody were among the many who expressed their condolences.