She trained at the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work beginning 1953 ad finishing in 1955. This was the same college attended by Joshua Nkomo in Johannesburg.
She worked at Baragwanath Hospital after refusing a scholarship to go to the USA. She became more interested in social justice activism and research in infant mortality and other topics among Black people. One of her major research findings was that high infant mortality rate among townshop dwellers, it was 10 deaths in every 1,000 births.
After marrying Madiba Nelson Mandela in 1958, she continued her political activism, resulting in her being restricted and monitored, her home being raided and her being jailed. In 1990, Winnie was appointed African National Congress’s the head of social welfare. She was also interested in HIV/AIDS and land repossession. She died in 2018.
In 2019, the University of South Africa posthumously honoured her with a doctorate in social work for contributing to social work with individuals, groups and communities in South Africa.