News Americas, KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tues. April 3, 2018: A Caribbean prime minister is hailing South Africa’s Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who passed away Monday in her homeland, as a champion of freedom.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, said Madikizela-Mandela, 81, “was a symbol of the black struggle against oppression and injustice.”
“We here in Jamaica supported her in that struggle as she maintained the legacy of her then husband Nelson Mandela while he was locked away for 27 years,” said the prime minister in a release from the Office of the Prime Minister Monday afternoon. “We were cognizant of the evolution of the struggle that culminated in the release of Nelson Mandela and majority black rule. We still strongly remember their visit to Jamaica in 1991 as I know do many Jamaicans today.”
Holness added that the former Mrs. Mandela is immortalized in the Jamaican socio-cultural consciousness with songs and stories about her life and struggles.
He said Jamaica has lost a friend and inspiration, while conveying condolences on behalf of the people of Jamaica, to the nation of South Africa.
The late South African anti-apartheid activist and politician was born to a Xhosa family in Bizana, in the then Union of South Africa and studied social work at the Jan Hofmeyr School.
In 1958, she married anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg; they remained married for 38 years and had two children together. In 1963, Mandela was imprisoned following the Rivonia Trial; where she became his public face during the 27 years he spent in jail. During that period, she rose to prominence within the domestic anti-apartheid movement. She was arrested and detained by state security services on various occasions and spent several months in solitary confinement.
Nelson Mandela was released from prison on 11 February 1990, and the couple separated in 1992; their divorce was finalized in March 1996.
Madikizela-Mandela died at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg‚ South Africa on April 2, 2018. Her death was confirmed by her personal assistant, Zodwa Zwane. The cause of her death was a “long-term illness” according to her family.