Winnie Mandela (Nelson Mandela’s Wife) Age, Family, Biography & More

Winnie Mandela

Real Name Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela
Nickname(s)Winnie, Mama Winnie, Mother of the Nation
Profession(s)Activist, Politician
Political PartyAfrican National Congress (ANC)
Famous ForBeing wife of Nelson Mandela
Physical Stats & More
Height (approx.)in centimeters- 163 cm
in meters- 1.63 m
in feet inches- 5’ 4”
Weight (approx.)in kilograms- 70 kg
in pounds- 154 lbs
Eye ColourDark Brown
Hair ColourSalt & Pepper
Personal Life
Date of Birth26 September 1936
BirthplaceBizana, Pondoland, South Africa
Date of Death2 April 2018
Place of DeathNetcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa
Age (at the time of death)81 Years
Death CauseChronic illness
Zodiac sign/Sun signLibra
SignatureWinnie Mandela signature
NationalitySouth African
HometownJohannesburg, South Africa
School(s)Shawbury High School, Qumbu
Jan H. Hofmeyr School of Social Work, Johannesburg
College/UniversityUniversity of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Educational Qualification(s)Degree in Social Work
Bachelor's degree in International Relations
EthnicityThembu (Xhosa)
Food HabitNon-Vegetarian
AddressA bungalow in Soweto, Gauteng, South Africa
Winnie Mandela home in Soweto
HobbiesTravelling, Doing social work
Awards/Honours1984- Freedom of the City of Aberdeen Award
1988- United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights
2018- Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree by University Council and University Senate of Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Controversies• In 1986, she was accused of carrying a virtual terror atmosphere in certain areas of Soweto, along with the other members of the African National Congress (ANC), as she allegedly supported the practice of "necklacing," i.e. burning tyres around suspected informants' necks.
• In 1991, she was sentenced to 6 years' imprisonment for her role in the kidnapping and killing of a 14-year-old township militant Stompie Seipei on 1 January 1989. Later, her sentence was reduced to a fine.
• In 2003, she was convicted of multiple counts of bank fraud and theft as she was involved in various deals of false bank loans and funeral policies granted to poor people, and was sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment. Following her conviction, she resigned from all the positions that she held in the ANC. In July 2004, in an appeal, the Pretoria High Court stated that "the crimes were not committed for personal gain," but for her involvement in the fraud, she was suspended for three years and six months.
• In June 2007, the Canadian High Commission in South Africa refused to give her a visa to Toronto, where she was supposed to visit a fundraising concert organized by 'MusicaNoir.'
Boys, Affairs and More
Marital StatusMarried
Affair/BoyfriendNelson Mandela (Former President of South Africa)
Marriage DateJune 1958
Winnie Mandela and Nelson Mandela wedding pic
Husband/SpouseNelson Mandela (m. 1958–div. 1996)
Winnie Mandela with Nelson Mandela
ChildrenSon- None
Daughters- Zindziswa Mandela
Winnie Mandela daughter Zindziswa Mandela
Zenani Mandela
Winnie Mandela daughter Zenani Mandela
ParentsFather- Columbus (Teacher)
Mother- Gertrude (Teacher)
SiblingsBrother- 1
Sisters- 6

Winnie Mandela

Some Lesser Known Facts About Winnie Mandela

  • Did Winnie Mandela smoke?: Not Known
  • Did Winnie Mandela drink alcohol?: Not Known
  • Winnie was born into a family of teachers; as her father was a headmaster and mother, a domestic science teacher.
  • She had a broken childhood as after the death of her mother in 1945 in a prison, her family splintered and all her siblings were sent to live with different relatives.
  • Since her childhood, she had the leadership skills as she was the head girl of her high school in Bizana.
  • After completing her schooling, she shifted to Johannesburg to study social work. Winnie Mandela in younger days
  • After she completed her degree in 1955, she was awarded a scholarship for further study in the U.S., but she denied the offer and chose to be a Black medical social worker at the Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg instead.
  • While she was working at the hospital, she developed an interested in politics after her research experiences in Alexandra Township.
  • She became a member of the African National Congress (ANC) in the mid-1950s.
  • In 1957, she met the already married Nelson Mandela. Though her father was against her marriage to Nelson due to their huge age difference of 18 years, but she went against her family and the two married in 1958.
  • After marrying Nelson, she was formally called “Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.”
  • In 1958, she was arrested for being part of the protest against the then ruling British government that passed the legislation to African women, which compelled them to labor and live on the terms of white population.
  • In 1964, her husband was sentenced to life imprisonment for his political movements, after which she carried forward her husband’s fight and raised their daughters on her own.
  • While raising her daughters, she always had the fear of getting arrested by the police, so she decided to enroll her children in a boarding school in Swaziland.
  • She was frequently arrested by the South African government due to her political movements, where she was tortured, subjected to house arrest, and was under surveillance.
  • In the mid-1960s, she rose as opponent’s face of apartheid, during which she was exiled in Brandfort and was restricted to the area, but was allowed to see her husband at the prison on Robben Island.
  • In early 1970, she thought of committing suicide while she was spending her 18 months in solitary confinement at Pretoria Central Prison. Winnie Mandela in Jail
  • It is believed that she was the first black social worker in South Africa.
  • During the youth revolution of 1976, she founded the Black Women’s Federation and the Black Parents’ Association with an ideology to abolish all “White” values, for which she was detained.
  • In 1985, she had a narrow escape as her house was burned, after which she shifted to Soweto and continued to fight against the government.
  • For all the struggle that she did for the rights of “Black”, she earned the title of “Mother of the Nation.”
  • In 2013, she released a book named ‘491 Days: Prisoner Number 1323/69’ that highlighted her experiences of 18 months in solitary confinement at Pretoria Central Prison. Winnie Mandela - 491 Days...Prisoner Number 1323-69
  • The same year, a drama film called ‘Winnie Mandela’ was released, which was based on Anne Marie du Preez Bezrob’s biography ‘Winnie Mandela: A Life.’

  • Even after her divorce with Nelson Mandela, she kept his surname and was in touch with him, but he left no money for her in his will.