The Department of International Relations on Monday confirmed the death of Zindzi Mandela SA’s ambassador to Denmark and the daughter of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
The 59-year-old was a political activist and was among those who fought the oppressive apartheid regime. Zindzi reportedly passed away at a Johannesburg hospital in the early hours of Monday morning.
She was 18 months old when her father, Nelson Mandela, was first sent to prison. Since then, her mother, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was also imprisoned often, sometimes for months on end, leaving Zindzi in the care of her elder sibling, Zenani.
In the year 1977 when her mother was banished to Brandfort, then in the Orange Free State, Zindzi moved with her, removing her from her normal life.
She then moved to Swaziland, and upon finishing high school enrolled at the University of Cape Town to study for a degree in law. Zindzi became the spokesperson for her parents who were often imprisoned.
In 1985, the year in which she graduated, Zindzi was selected to read her father’s refusal speech after then president PW Botha offered him conditional release from prison.
Zindzi was a poet and author, her work has been published on several occasions. One of her books, Black As I Am, includes pictures taken by revered Drum magazine journalist Peter Magubane.