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FILE PHOTO: Winnie Madikizela Mandela,ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, attends the inauguration ceremony of South African President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, May 24, 2014. REUTERS/Mujahid Safodien/Pool/File Photo

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African anti-apartheid veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, former wife of the late Nelson Mandela, has been admitted to hospital for observation, a statement from her family said on Thursday.

"Mrs Mandela went to the hospital for routine medical checkup on Wednesday, March 8. A decision was taken to admit her for further observation," the statement said.

Former first lady Madikizela-Mandela, 80, was in hospital for several weeks last year for back surgery.

During her ex-husband's 27-year incarceration for his fight against apartheid, Madikizela-Mandela campaigned for his release and for the rights of black South Africans, undergoing detention, banishment and arrest.

Mandela died in 2013 and made no mention of Madikizela-Mandela in his will. She plans to challenge the will, according to media reports.

(Reporting by Joe Brock; editing by Andrew Roche)

Reuters