United Nations head in South Africa expresses her sadness over the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Pretoria, South Africa: The United Nations in South Africa joins all South Africans in mourning the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who passed away yesterday.

Affectively known as “MaWinnie” or the Mother of a Nation, the late icon will be remembered for her heroism and dedication in the fight against injustice and oppression during South Africa’s apartheid era and her continued fight against poverty.

Expressing her shock and sadness on behalf of the United Nations in South Africa, UN Resident Coordinator, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, said the death of Ms. Madikizela-Mandela was a huge loss to the people of South Africa and all those who fight for freedom and human rights around the world.

“She risked her life and everything else that mattered to her by standing up against the apartheid government,” said Ms. Bekele-Thomas, adding, “It takes great courage and strong commitment to go through what she went through; but she never gave up. MaWinnie was a symbol of bravery, courage and tenacity.”

Ms. Bekele-Thomas echoed the sentiments and condolences of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who upon hearing of the news, said he was “saddened by the passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a leading figure at the forefront of the fight against apartheid in South Africa. She was a strong and fearless voice in the struggle for equal rights and will be remembered as a symbol of resistance”.

For further information, please contact:

Zeenat Abdool, UN Information Centre in Pretoria, Tel. +27-12-354-8507; Cell: +27-82-778-8080; Email: abdool@un.org