Zindzi Mandela, daughter of South African liberation hero Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has died, according to officials.
She was 59.
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State broadcaster SABC said Mandela, who has been serving as South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark since 2015, died in a hospital in Johannesburg in the early hours of Monday. No other details were given.
The Mandela Legacy Foundation, speaking on behalf of the family, said memorial and funeral arrangements for Zindzi would be announced in the course of the week.
President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed sadness at her passing days before Nelson Mandela’s birthday and said she brought home “the unshakeable resolve of our fight for freedom”.
“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,” Ramaphosa’s office quoted him as saying.
Pule Mabe, spokesman for the governing African National Congress, described her death as “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,” Mabe said, adding further details would be provided in due course.
Educated in South Africa and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Zindzi Mandela spent many years involved in South Africa’s freedom struggle, and embraced roles in the arts, philanthropy and business.
She rose to international prominence when she read out her father’s rejection of then-President PW Botha’s offer for freedom in 1985.
Tobias Elling Rehfeld, Denmark’s ambassador to South Africa, said he was “saddened” to learn about her death.
He wrote on Twitter: “I am so saddened to learn that Ambassador Zindzi Mandela has passed away. Zindzi was a dear colleague working tirelessly and with a smile to nurture and grow the strong friendship between SouthAfrica and Denmark. My deep condolence to the Mandela family!”
Zindzi Mandela is survived by her husband and four children.