NEWS
04/02/2018 11:21 EDT | Updated 04/02/2018 11:23 EDT

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Leading Anti-Apartheid Activist, Dead At 81

She was married to Nelson Mandela from 1958 to 1996.

Associated Press
In this file photo dated Sunday, Feb. 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie walk hand in hand, raising their clenched fists upon his release from Victor prison, Cape Town after 27 years in detention. South African state broadcaster SABC said Monday that anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has died.

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa's state broadcaster says Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, prominent anti-apartheid activist and the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, has died. She was 81.

Madikizela-Mandela was married to Nelson Mandela from 1958 to 1996. Mandela was imprisoned throughout most of their marriage and Madikizela-Mandela's own activism against the apartheid regime led to her being imprisoned for months and years under house arrest.

Her political activism was marred by a kidnapping and assault conviction in 1991, for which she was fined. She faced these allegations again during the 1997 hearings before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a panel that investigated apartheid-era crimes.

As a parliamentarian after South Africa's first all-race elections, she was convicted of fraud. Still, she was widely venerated in South Africa for her role in fighting white minority rule.