South Africa | Mandla Mandela feels 'gaping chasm of pain' over sudden death of aunt Zindzi

Zindzi Mandela is seen leaving her hotel on December 6, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images)

Zindzi Mandela is seen leaving her hotel on December 6, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images)

Mandla Mandela, the grandson of former president Nelson Mandela, has taken to Instagram to pay tribute to his aunt, Zindziswa Mandela, who died in a Johannesburg hospital on Monday morning.

He said death had snatched another member of his family too soon and left a gaping chasm of pain in the wake of Zindziswa's death.

"We shall always treasure fond memories of her as a feisty, fearless and proud freedom fighter in her own right," Mandla added.

READ | A tragic figure with a gentle soul: Tributes pour in for Zindzi Mandela

"Zindziswa, the youngest daughter of my grandfather Nkosi Dalibhunga [Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela] from Mam Winnie, was very close to my father, Makgatho Lewanika Mandela, in the wake of uTatomkhulu's incarceration. My father acted as a father figure to her in this difficult time.

"My earliest and fondest childhood recollection of her was my mispronunciation of her name and I called her 'Zinjisha' much to everyone's amusement.

"I have fond memories of the ride to Brandfort in her purple Beetle to visit Mam Winnie," Mandla said.

"She and my dad were also instrumental in arranging my visit to Pollsmoor Prison to meet my grandfather for the first time. I am eternally indebted as this marked an important milestone in my life and the genesis of my political education at a tender young age."

OBIT | Zindzi Mandela, remembered for her 1985 address, dies at 59

He said for a long time, Zindziswa was the only member of the Mandela family residing at 8115 Vilakazi Street in Soweto where the two of them shared many fond and treasured memories.

"Every time I came by, she would teach me how to play a piano in the lounge."

Mandla also recalled when Zindziswa gave a moving address at a gathering in Soweto in 1985 where she read out her father's rejection letter of then-president PW Botha's offer of release on the condition he renounced violence.

"She cut a colossal figure for someone still in her teens when she defied the authorities and read her father's refusal of PW Botha's conditional release.

"Her voice powerfully and courageously carried and conveyed Nelson Mandela's resolute challenge to dismantle apartheid; unban the ANC; free all political prisoners and those who had been banished; the return of all exiles and to guarantee free political activity.

"This is how we shall fondly remember her and remind ourselves that the long walk to freedom is far from over," he said.

READ MORE | 'A leader in her own right' - Ramaphosa pays tribute to 'fearless political activist' Zindzi Mandela

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