Winie Mandela‚ a stalwart in the fight against apartheid‚ has died at the age of 81.

In 1969‚ Madikizela-Mandela became one of the first detainees under Section 6 of the notorious Terrorism Act of 1967. She was detained for 18 months in solitary confinement in a condemned cell at Pretoria Central Prison before being charged under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950.

Winnie was the former wife of South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela.

The couple - famously pictured hand-in-hand as Mr Mandela walked free from prison after 27 years - were a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for nearly three decades.

However, in later years her reputation became tainted legally and politically.

According to BBC news, her family are expected to release a statement later today.