South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, Zindziswa “Zindzi” Nobutho Mandela, has died, according to Times Live a close family member has confirmed.
Zindzi Mandela died in a Johannesburg hospital during the early hours of the Monday morning. She is a mother of four and is the youngest daughter of the late former South African president Nelson Mandela and the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
International and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor told Times Live that 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.”
The 59-year-old was a political activist and was among those who fought the oppressive apartheid regime. She first took up her position as the ambassador to Denmark in 2015.
During Mandela’s incarceration, Zenani and Zindzi were in Eswatini and attended school at UWC Waterford Kamhlaba of Southern Africa.
Zindzi is best remembered for her defiance, which she retained throughout her life, most recently voicing her support for accelerated land reform.
When she was 18 months old, her father was sent to prison. Her mother was also imprisoned often at the time, sometimes for months on end, leaving Zindzi in the care of her elder sibling, Zenani.
In 1977 Madikizela-Mandela was banished to Brandfort, then in the Orange Free State, and Zindzi moved with her, taking her out of her normal life. She then moved to Swaziland, and upon finishing high school, enrolled at the University of Cape Town for a law degree. She and her sister soon became effective spokespeople for her imprisoned parents.
In 1985, the year she graduated, Zindzi was selected to read her father’s refusal speech after the then president PW Botha offered him conditional release from prison.
Zindzi has written poetry and has been published on several occasions. One of her works, Black as I Am, included pictures taken by revered Drum magazine journalist Peter Magubane.
In February 1985 her father was offered a conditional release by the South African President, P. W. Botha. Her father’s reply could not be delivered by her parents and Zindzi was chosen to read his refusal at a public meeting on 10 February 1985.
That was when she come to spotlight in her own right was when she read her jailed father’s speech in Jabulani Stadium, Soweto 1985, rejecting then President PW Botha’s conditional offer of freedom.