Australia

Mandela’s daughter ‘positive for COVID’

Zindzi Mandela’s grieving son has confirmed she had coronavirus at the time of her death – although it is not yet known whether it was the virus that ultimately killed her.

The youngest daughter of anti-Apartheid activists Nelson and Winnie Mandela as serving as the ambassador to Denmark at the time of her death at age 59, a position she had held since 2015.

Local media reports indicate Zindzi Mandela passed away early on Monday morning at a hospital in Johannesburg, and she is survived by her four children, husband Molapo Motlhajwa and older sister Zenani, 61.

Today, son Zondwa Mandela told South African broadcaster SABC it didn’t necessarily mean she died of complications related to the illness.

“My mother did in fact test positive for COVID-19 on the day of her passing,” he said.

“Although, this doesn’t therefore mean that she died of Covid-related complications, but simply that she tested positive for it.

“Simply by the virtue that there was a positive test, we are therefore obligated to function and work within the framework of the existing regulation related to such cases.”

The family will now await a formal autopsy report to determine the cause of death.

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Ms Mandela’s famous father died in December 2013, while her mother Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away in April 2018.

She was Nelson Mandela’s sixth child and his second with second wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Zindzi Mandela was born on December 23, 1960 in Soweto, and her famous father was sent to prison when she was just 18 months old – where he remained until 1990.

Zindzi Mandela studied law at the University of Cape Town before following in her family’s political footsteps, temporarily serving as the nation’s First Lady following her father’s election and her parents’ divorce.

She held the position until Nelson Mandela married Graça Machel in 1998.

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However, she first made global headlines in 1985 after reading a letter penned by her father which rejected an offer from the government to release him from prison if he denounced violence carried out by his movement, the Africa National Congress, against the apartheid system.

Last June, Ms Mandela sparked controversy after her official Twitter account posted a series of divisive posts, referring to “trembling white cowards who are the thieving rapist descendants of Van Riebeck (sic)” and “uninvited visitors who don’t want to leave”.

Jan van Riebeeck was the Dutch colonial administrator who founded Cape Town in the 1600s and essentially paved the way for white settlement in Southern Africa.

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