(Guyana Guardian) – 81-year-old Winnie Mandela, once known as the grandmother of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa is said to be no more with us.
She died earlier this morning (Monday) peacefully at the Netcare Milpark Hospital.
A BBC freelance reporter in South Africa, who had long been a credible source of information for the Guyana Guardian, had told this publication that Mrs. Mandela’s health was failing for several weeks now, and that her prognosis had not been favourable since last Friday.
He suggested that it may have been a family decision not to put news of her admission into hospital over the weekend, into the public domain.
However, several reports out of South Africa confirmed that she had attended Church on Good Friday, but was rushed to the hospital after complaining that she was feeling unwell.
Prior to the release of her husband, the late Nelson Mandela in 1990, Winnie had been the main face of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa for 27-years, until his release and ascending to the Presidency.
During those 27 years, Mrs. Mandela had pressed many countries including Guyana, to advocate for the release of her then-husband Nelson Mandela, and to support her quest to bring an end to white minority rule in South Africa.
Former President Forbes Burnham and then opposition leader Cheddie Jagan were known to be strong supporters of Mrs. Mandela’s quest for equality and the release of her husband.
As a matter of fact, both men had technically set aside their political differences during those years, to press for the freedom of Nelson Mandela and for an end to Apartheid in South Africa.
Guyana had also held several domestic events to condemn apartheid in the late 1970’s and had also made several protests calls against racial segregation in South Africa, at the level of the UN among other forums, until it ended in 1991.
Mrs. Mandela who was divorced from her husband after his release, because of numerous scandals surrounding her conduct while he was in prison, was still a revered figure in South Africa.
But even though she has been often hailed as a national heroine, it remains uncertain as to whether she will be given a State funeral.