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The late Ambassador Zindzi Mandela speaking at a diplomatic event in Copenhagen. She was South Africa's envoy to Denmark from 2016 until her death/Photo: Embassy of South Africa in Denmark

Nelson Mandela’s daughter dies at 59

Zindzi Mandela, South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, has died at the age of 59.

Ms Mandela – the daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela – died in the early hours of Monday (13 July) in a Johannesburg hospital. 

She was the youngest daughter of the couple and is reputed to have spent many years involved in South Africa’s freedom struggle.

“As the daughter of two anti-apartheid icons, she spent her life upholding their legacy and commitment to a better South Africa. We extend condolences to her family and  pay tribute for her activism and service as the ambassador to Denmark,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said, in a tribute.

“Zindzi Mandela was a household name nationally and internationally, who during our years of struggle brought home the inhumanity of the apartheid system and the unshakeable resolve of our fight for freedom,” he added.

“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.”

Zindzi Mandela grew up while her father was in prison and was a staunch activist. In 1985 she famously told the world that her father had rejected PW Botha’s offer of conditional freedom.

“This is 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,” said ANC spokesman Pule Mabe.

South Africa’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor said that Zindzi was not just the child of two hallowed struggle activists – she was a struggle heroine herself.

Adira Kallo

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