Zindzi Mandela, daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, has died. She was 59.
The activist and former ambassador passed away at a hospital in Johannesburg on Monday (July 13). Her cause of death has not be released.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa sent condolences to the Mandela family, and noted the unfortunate timing of her passing. “Our sadness is compounded by this loss being visited upon us just days before the world marks the birthday of the great Nelson Mandela,” said Ramaphosa.
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. Our sadness is compounded by this loss being visited upon us just days before the world marks the birthday of the great Nelson Mandela. pic.twitter.com/RC0YQ6VEvf
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) July 13, 2020
The second of Winnie and Nelson’s two children, Zindzi was born on Dec. 23, 1960, in Sowetto, South Africa. She was 18 months old when her father was imprisoned by the South African government.
In 1985, Zindzi caught international attention after she read her father’s rejection of former South African President PW Botha’s offer for a conditional prison release. The anti-apartheid leader was freed from prison in 1990, and was elected as South Africa’s first Black president in 1994.
During her father’s imprisonment, Zindzi became a published author, and earned a law degree from the University of Capetown. Only two of Nelson Mandela’s six children remain alive.
“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,” South Africa’s foreign affairs minister Naledi Pandor said in a statement.
Zindzi had been an ambassador to Demark since 2015. She is survived by her husband, Molapo Motlhajwa, and four children.