Nelson Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi Mandela dies at 59

No cause of death has been released, but South Africa is in the middle of a growing wave coronavirus with more than 4,000 deaths.

Nelson Mandela's daughter, Zindzi Mandela dies at 59
Zindzi Mandela rose to international fame in 1985 after reading her father Nelson Mandela’s letter which rejected a deal with the South African apartheid government.

(African Stand) — Zindzi Mandela, the daughter of South African anti-apartheid leaders Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela, died Monday morning in the hospital at the age of 59.

No cause of death has been released, but South Africa is in the middle of a growing wave coronavirus with more than 4,000 deaths.

Zindzi Mandela, whose mother was anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, rose to international prominence when she read out Nelson Mandela’s rejection of the then-president P.W. Botha’s offer for freedom in 1985.

The white minority government offered to release Nelson Mandela from prison if he denounced violence perpetrated by his movement, the Africa National Congress, against apartheid, the brutal system of racial discrimination enforced in South Africa at that time.

She read his letter rejecting the offer at a packed public meeting which was broadcast around the world.

State broadcaster SABC said the 59-year-old, who was serving as South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, died in a hospital in Johannesburg. It did not say why she had died.

‘This is untimely. She still had a role to play in the transformation of our own society and a bigger role to play even in the African National Congress,’ said ANC spokesman Pule Mabe.

Mabe said further details would be provided in due course.

The Mandela Foundation posted earlier that on this day in 1969, Nelson’s eldest son, Madiba Thembekile – Zindzi’s half brother – died in a three-car collision, which left another four people dead.

Zindzi’s other half-brother, attorney Makgatho Mandela, died of AIDS in 2005.

His death led to an impassioned statement from then-President Mandela, who called on the public to ‘give publicity to AIDS’ and to ‘not hide it’.

Another of her siblings died in 1948 at just 18-months old.

Last year Zindzi stirred controversy by calling for the return of the white-owned land to South Africa’s dispossessed Black majority.

‘Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally (hash)TheLandIsOurs,’ she tweeted in June last year.

President Cyril Ramaphosa led the tributes to Zindzi this morning.

‘Zindzi Mandela was a household name nationally and internationally, who during our years of struggle, brought home the inhumanity of the apartheid system and the unshakeable resolve of our fight for freedom,’ he said.

‘After our liberation, she became an icon of the task we began of transforming our society and stepping into spaces and opportunities that had been denied to generations of South Africans.

‘Her spirit joins Tata Madiba and Mama Winnie in a reunion of leaders to whom we owe our freedom.’

South Africa’s foreign affairs minister Naledi Pandor has expressed shock at Mandela’s death, describing her as a heroine.

‘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,’ said Pandor.

Zindzi was born in the midst of the anti-apartheid struggle, the same year that her father’s African National Congress created its armed wing. Zindzi, her mother, and her sister Zenani faced harassment by the ruling National Part while her father was imprisoned on Robben Island, the BBC reported.

In a 1995 interview with Thandy magazine, Zindzi said: ‘I am something of a rebel.’

‘I never knew a normal life,’ she added.

‘The day I buried the father of my child, my own father was released from prison’

Only two of Nelson’s children, Zemani and Pumla, are still alive. Nelson Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is currently consulting with the Mandela family. The Danish Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the MailOnline.

Zindzi is survived by her husband and four children.

Hassan Juma

Written by Hassan Juma

Hassan Juma is an international reporter who graduated with a degree from The United States International University where he majored in Journalism and International Relations and he is currently working for African Stand as a senior reporter covering the Middle East, US, Asia, and Europe.

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