Zindzi Mandela, Daughter of Nelson Mandela, Dies Aged 59
Zindzi Mandela, daughter of former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, has died aged 59.
The news of her passing was confirmed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation this morning, July 13.
South African Broadcasting Corporation, the state television and radio network, reported that Zindzi died at a Johannesburg hospital early this morning. The cause of death is unknown at the time of writing.
Her death was confirmed by other members of her family, including her son Bambatha, who posted a photo of his late mother to Instagram with the caption: ‘Lala ngo xolo Madlomo,’ which translates to ‘Sleep in peace Madam’ in English. Zindzi was serving as the ambassador to Denmark at the time of her death.
Zindzi was born on on December 23, 1960, in Soweto. Eighteen months later, her father was sent to prison, where he remained until 1990.
She first rose to prominence when reading Mandela’s letter aloud to the world in 1985, rejecting the White minority government’s offer to free him from behind bars if he denounced the violence of his movement, which sought the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Zindzi also studied law at the University of Cape Town and briefly serving as the nation’s first lady following Mandela’s election and divorce, until he married Graça Machel in 1998. Mandela passed away in 2013, while her mother Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also an anti-apartheid activist, died in 2018.
Her death has sparked an outpouring of tributes, with one user writing: ‘I have no words to express how i feel: why you left us so early mama: why the fearless once are the once which leave us wen we need them the most: Rest In Peace until we meet again.’
A second user tweeted: ‘You were fearless in tackling real issues. Your history and your life will not be forgotten. Rest in peace daughter of giants.’ Journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika also wrote: ‘The giant tree has fallen, the daughter of the soil @ZindziMandela is no more and may your soul Rest In Peace Zindziswa Mandela.’
News anchor Cathy Mohlahlana tweeted: ‘Rest in Power #ZindziMandela. Woman of valor and truth. I love how fearless you were. Thank you for all you sacrificed for this country of ours. That we can be who we are today.’
Zindzi is survived by her four children and husband Molapo Motlhajwa.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.