Zindzi Mandela, the daughter of the South African liberation icon Nelson Mandala and country’s ambassador to Denmark, died in mid-July at the age of 59. She was buried in a private ceremony next to her mother in northern Johannesburg. According to her family, she had also tested positive for COVID-19 before her death. For providing this information, the South African President Cyril thanked her family. Naledi Pandor, the minister of South Africa’s Department of International relations paid his respects in a statement and said,
“Zindzi will not only be remembered as a daughter of our struggle heroes, Tata Nelson, and Mama Winnie Mandela but as a struggle heroine in her own right. She served South Africa well.”
The death of Zindzi Mandela came just days before the globe marks the birthday of her father, Nelson Mandala. Her sudden death in Johannesburg came as a shock for people in Africa and across the world. Meanwhile, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said in a statement that Zindzi was regarded by many people as the child of African nations for countless services. Therefore, Zindzi’s death means that the nation lost a key generational link connecting the disputed and divided history to promise for a more inclusive tomorrow.
The early life of Zindzi Mandela
Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African President said that her death was a shock for him. He further added that after the liberation of South Africa, Zindzi became an icon and played her part in transforming the African society. President said,
“I offer my deep condolences to the Mandela family as we mourn the passing of a fearless political activist who was a leader in her own right.”
Zindzi Mandela spent her childhood with her mother while the apartheid regime imprisoned her father Nelson Mandela for nearly 27 years. Later, she became an active member of the African National Congress. Soon after completing her education in Eswatini and South Africa, she spent many years in the country’s freedom struggle. Moreover, Zindzi embraced roles in business, philanthropy, and arts.
She rose to the global spotlight in 1985, after reading out her father’s rejection of the offer for freedom. At that time, President Botha had offered to release Mandela from prison. However, it was on the condition that he renounces the anti-apartheid movement and protests. Nelson’s rejection of the offer was firm and resounding.
In 1969, it was the same day when Madiba Thembekile Mandela, the eldest son of Nelson Mandela died in a car crash. His third child, Zenani Mandela, currently serves as a South African ambassador to Korea. Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the African National Congress, Pule Mabe, described Zindzi’s death as a shock and untimely. Mabe added that Zindzi played a key role in the African National Congress and in transforming the society.
The world reacts to the passing of an icon
I join the Continent in grief at the passing of Amb #ZindziMandela who I last saw in Soweto at her mother’s home when I came to present my condolences following her death. My prayers go to the late Ma Zindzi’s family, the people&govt of South Africa for this painful loss. pic.twitter.com/BwhWeUnVTf
— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) July 13, 2020
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) July 14, 2020
Struggle heroine Ambassador #ZindziMandela has been laid to rest. President @CyrilRamaphosa says though she “has departed this life, her legacy lives on in our minds and in our hearts” #RIPZindziMandela 🙏🏾✨ pic.twitter.com/6nuWortQIZ
— Peter Ndoro (@peterndoro) July 17, 2020
— SABC News (@SABCNews) July 15, 2020
So sad to hear that the wonderfully amazing #ZindziMandela has passed away. I had the honour of interviewing her at the SouthBank in 2018 with her grandchildren about their book on #NelsonMandela. She spoke about growing up with a legend and continuing his legacy. #RIP ❤️ pic.twitter.com/BCfZRETq2E
— Floella Benjamin (@FloellaBenjamin) July 13, 2020
— Omphile (@OmphileMaotwe) July 17, 2020
We are saddened at the passing of Mam’ #ZindziMandela a true patriot.
At the time, she was defending a complaint of hate speech, which was laid against her at the SAHRC.
Her powerful answer to the complaint should remain with all of us who value freedom, equality and dignity. pic.twitter.com/jBmYETsALO
— RupertCandyAttorneys (@RCAttorneys) July 13, 2020