Wellingtonians are invited to attend a memorial service next week for anti-apartheid campaigner and Nelson Mandela's ex wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Madikizela-Mandela died Monday in a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 81 after a long illness, her family announced.

READ MORE: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: A life of struggle
S Africa to give state burial to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

The South African High Commissioner in Wellington, Vuyiswa Tulelo, said Madikizela-Mandela's death on Monday was a sad day for South Africans and all those who stood against apartheid.


"We invite Wellingtonians to join us in honouring the everlasting contribution of Mama Winnie to the struggle through sacrifice and her unyielding determination," Tulelo said.

"We know many New Zealanders were involved in the anti-apartheid movement, protesting against the Springbok Tour of New Zealand in 1981 and they may be interested in celebrating the life of Mama Winnie."

Madikizela-Mandela was commonly known in South Africa as the Mother of the Nation. Her dedication to the plight of her people gained her love and the respect of the nation.

She was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician and served as a member of Parliament from 1994 until her death.

She previously served as the Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. She was also the President of the African National Congress Women's League.

A memorial service to commemorate her death will be held on Wednesday at 6pm at St Peter's Anglican Church, Wellington.

A condolence book will be open for signing at the South African High Commission from 2-4pm until Friday next week.