Former President Dr. Joyce Banda has expressed shock over the death of former first lady Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Mrs Madikizela-Mandela died yesterday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones” following a long illness, which had seen her go in and out of hospital since the start of the year.

In a statement made available to faceofmalawi, Banda said Mrs Madikizela Mandela’s death is a big brawl to South Africa.

“It is with great shock that I have learned about the death of Winnie Mandela. I have read a lot about Winnie in order to understand this woman who gave too much to the liberation of her country.

“I have had the opportunity over the past few years to also sit down with her and listen to her story. My personal view has always been that sometimes she did not receive the full recognition that she deserved. It is my hope that history will judge her kindly. It is my opinion that she was God’s precious gift to South Africa,” said Banda.

She added: “The good news is that there are also so many particularly ordinary people at grassroots that will love her regardless of what anybody tries to say or do against her legacy.

“I was happy a few weeks ago to see her with President Ramaphosa when they both went to verify their voter registration details.

“I would like to send my deepest condolences to her children and grand children and the entire Mandela family.”

Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was born in 1936 in the Eastern Cape – then known as Transkei.

She was a trained social worker when she met her future husband in the 1950s. They went on to have two daughters together.

They were married for a total of 38 years, although for almost three decades of that time they were separated due to Mr Mandela’s long imprisonment.

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