Who was Winnie Mandela? Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Bio: Age, Children, Net Worth, Death, Grandchildren

Posted By Princess Tshegofatso


Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (born May 26, 1936), affectionately called Winnie Mandela, was a prominent figure in South Africa. She was known for her roles as a social worker, politician, and anti-apartheid activist. 

As Nelson Mandela‘s second wife, Winnie Mandela made significant contributions to politics, serving as Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science, and Technology in South Africa’s inaugural multiracial government and as a Member of Parliament.

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Winnie Mandela: History ‧ Bio ‧ Photo
Wiki Facts & About Data
Full Name: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Stage Name: Winnie Mandela
Born: 26 September 1936 (age 81 years old)
Place of Birth: Mbhongweni, Pondoland, South Africa
Died: 2 April 2018 (age 81 years), Netcare Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa
Nationality: South African
Education: Shawbury High School
Height: 1.59 m
Parents: Gertrude Madikizela, Columbus Madikizela
Siblings: Mobantu Mniki, Nonyaniso Khumalo, Msuthu Madikizela
Spouse: Nelson Mandela (m. 1958–1996)
Boyfriend • Partner: N/A
Children: Zindziswa Mandela, Zenani Mandela
Occupation: Politician • Activist
Net Worth: $1 million (USD)

Early Life & Education

Winnie Mandela, a former first lady of South Africa, was born on May 26, 1936, in Mbhongweni, Pondoland, now part of the Eastern Cape province. 

She came from a family of teachers, with her parents, Columbus Madikizela and Gertrude Madikizela, both working in education. She grew up alongside her siblings Mobantu MnikiNonyaniso Khumalo, and Msuthu Madikizela.

Winnie obtained a good education despite her poor beginnings. She began her education in Bizana, Eastern Cape, where she attended Mfundisweni Secondary School before transferring to Shawbury High School

In addition to her academic achievements, Winnie Mandela was appointed South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science, and Technology. 


Winnie Mandela embarked on her professional journey as a social worker at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, making history as the first Black individual to hold such a prominent role in the field. Her dedication and expertise led to her appointment as head of social welfare for the African National Congress (ANC) in 1962, further solidifying her status as a key figure within the organization and showcasing her commitment to social justice and equality.

Her involvement in anti-apartheid activism began in the early 1950s, resulting in multiple arrests and detentions. Despite facing a banning order in 1962 and enduring solitary confinement for 18 months following her arrest in 1969, Winnie Mandela‘s determination to fight against apartheid remained steadfast, inspiring hope and resistance within the Black South African community.

Recognizing the struggles of political prisoners’ families, she established the Winnie Mandela Family Fund in 1986 to provide essential support and assistance.

Winnie Mandela‘s political engagement intensified following Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990. She assumed the presidency of the ANC Women’s League in 1991 and later became deputy minister of arts and culture. She earned a seat in Parliament in 1994 alongside her spouse, who led South Africa’s first multiracial government at the time.

However, her political career was not without controversy. In 1991, Winnie Mandela was convicted of abducting and abusing Stompie Moeketsi, a 14-year-old boy, though her six-year sentence was eventually reduced to a fine. Additionally, Madikizela-Mandela faced convictions for fraud and corruption in 1997.

Social Media

  • Twitter: @WinnieMandelaZA
  • Instagram: @winniemandelaofficial
  • Facebook: @WinnieMandelaOfficial

Personal Life

Winnie Mandela‘s marriage to Nelson Mandela was complex and fraught with challenges. Despite their 38-year-long union, they spent considerable time apart due to Nelson‘s incarceration and Winnie‘s activism. Initially, Winnie supported her husband’s endeavors but also grappled with feelings of neglect and isolation. Over time, she asserted her identity and became increasingly involved in the anti-apartheid struggle.

During their marriage, Winnie and Nelson Mandela were blessed with two daughters: Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, born in 1958, and Zindziswa Mandela-Hlongwane, who sadly passed away in 2020.

On April 2, 2018, at the age of 81, Winnie Mandela passed away. She was widely recognized as Nelson Mandela‘s former spouse and a prominent figure in the anti-apartheid movement. The South African government confirmed that her death was due to multiple organ failure. In the months leading up to her passing, Madikizela-Mandela had been hospitalized for various health issues, including diabetes, hypertension, and kidney failure.

Winnie Mandela leaves behind a large family, including her grandchildren Zoleka MandelaPrince Cedza DlaminiZaziwe ManawayZondwa MandelaBambatha MandelaZamaswazi DlaminiZozuko DlaminiZinhle DlaminiZwelabo Mandela-Hlongwane, as well as her great-grandchildren Zenawe Zibuyile MandelaZenani Zanethemba Nomasonto MandelaZwelami Zendji Mfanyana Mandela, and Zenani Mandela.

Net Worth

Winnie Mandela, who served as the Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in South Africa, accumulated an estimated net worth of $1 million before passing in 2018. Her diverse sources of income included her earnings as a government official, fees received for speaking engagements, and royalties from her published books.

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