SA’s ambassador to Denmark, Zindzi Mandela, has died, a close family member has confirmed.
Born on December 23 1960, Mandela was 59 years old.
The mother of four is the daughter of the late former statesman Nelson Mandela and the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
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, When Hope Whispers.
Zindzi is best remembered for her defiance, which she retained throughout her life, most recently voicing her support of accelerated land reform.
Her first foray into the limelight 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.
Naledi Pandor, minister of international relations and cooperation, expressed deep condolences to the Mandela family, friends and colleagues. Minister 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.”
This is a developing story.