After decades of fighting - and defeating - South Africa's state-sponsored racism, Winnie Madikizela- Mandela is still embroiled in controversy.
Nelson Mandela's ex-wife is president of the African National Congress Women's League. Ms. Madikizela-Mandela came under fire recently for not attending the ANC's National General Council meeting in July.
Instead, she attended the amnesty hearing of one of her former bodyguards who in 1988 had been convicted of murdering a teenager. She had been accused in the case, but denied any involvement when questioned by South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997.
A staunch political activist in her youth, she wed Nelson Mandela in 1958. His arrest four years later led to the confinement of Winnie and her two young daughters.
Nevertheless, she fought for the banned ANC and grew very popular among black South Africans while being harassed by police. She continued her struggle even in exile from 1977 to 1985. Nelson was released in 1990, but divorced her in 1996.
Madikizela-Mandela was elected to government office in 1994, but lost her seat a year later. Most recently she showed her support (counter to South Africa's stance) for Zimbabwean squatters occupying white-owned farms.
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