The iconic politician and activist had a long list of accomplishments and prestigious positions to her name, including heading up the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL), various positions in government and her current role as a member of the ANC's National Executive Committee.
Her fascinating life story has been portrayed on screen by many a talented actress. To celebrate her 81-years of life we take a look at which actresses have taken on the on-screen role of Nomzamo Winfreda Zanyiwe Madikizela-Mandela:
Terry Pheto (2016/17)
Pheto recently played Madikizela-Mandela in BET's six-hour Madiba miniseries alongside Lawrence Fishburne as Mandela.
Jennifer Hudson (2011)
Hudson played the titular role of Winnie Mandela in the 2011 film of the same name alongside Terrence Howard as Mandela.
Harris played Mandela in 2013's, Long Walk to Freedom, alongside Idris Elba.
Alfre Woodard (1987)
Woodard was the first actress to play Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on screen in a TV film which first aired 30 years ago.
Danny Glover stars as Madiba.
Sophie Okonedo (2010)
This film, featuring a cast of actor predominantly from the UK was the first film centered around Winnie.
That fact made Okonedo quite nervous. She was once quoted by UK publication, The Telegraph, as saying "I was so nervous, one of my first scenes was when I had to go into a big hall and do one of her most famous speeches. I just thought what the hell? I’m about to go in there and be one of South Africa’s most iconic women. I just felt like a complete fraud."
Tina Lifford (1997)
When esteemed actors Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine took on the roles of Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s last apartheid president FW de Klerk respectively in TV film Mandela and de Klerk, actress Tina Lifford starred as Winnie ten years after Woodard first reprised the role.
Rest in peace mother of our nation.
Main image credit: marieclaire.co.za