Zindzi Mandela dies, aged 59
A family member has confirmed that Zindzi Mandela has died.
Image: Ruvan Boshoff
SA’s ambassador to Denmark, Zindzi Mandela, has died, a close family member has confirmed.
The mother of four is the daughter of the late former statesman Nelson Mandela and the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
International and Cooperation minister Naledi Pandor said she had learnt of the death with shock. Expressing deep condolences to the Mandela family, friends and colleagues, Pandor 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.”
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa on Monday described her as a “fighter” who had fought from the early days of her life.
Holomisa told TimesLIVE that Zindzi was very close to her late mother.
“We will also remember her during the time when she was campaigning for [Nelson] Mandela to be released. She was vocal.
“My condolences to the family and her children and sisters.”
Zindzi and her sister Zenani grew up in the forefront of the anti-apartheid struggle as their mother fought both the state and economic hardship as a single mother while their father was incarcerated.
“By the time I was born, on April 9 1980, my mother knew how to strip and assemble an AK-47 in exactly 38 seconds.”
These are the opening words of the biography of Zindzi’s eldest daughter, Zoleka, titled When Hope Whispers.
Zindzi is best remembered for her defiance, which she retained throughout her life, most recently voicing her support for accelerated land reform.
Her first foray into the spotlight in her own right was when she read her jailed father’s speech in Jabulani Stadium, Soweto, in February 1985, rejecting then president PW Botha’s conditional offer of freedom.
Five months ago, as South Africans commemorated the 30th anniversary of Madiba’s release from the Victor Verster prison, Zindzi reminisced about the weekends they went to visit him in prison and how, upon his release, she realised she would share him with the nation.