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South African anti-apartheid leader and

Source: DANIEL JANIN / Getty   Nelson and Winnie Mandela

South African anti-apartheid activist Winnie Mandela has died.  She was 81-years-old.

Winnie Madikizela Mandela was the former wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela.   The couple were recognized as a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for nearly three decades.

In an official statement, family spokesman Victor Dlamini said: “She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year.  “She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.