South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa mourns death of 'fearless' Zindzi Mandela

Zindzi Mandela was an icon of post-apartheid transformation, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.

He said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of the former SA ambassador to Denmark in the early hours of the morning, in a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 59.  

She had been posted to Denmark in 2015 and had been designated to become South Africa’s Head of Mission in Monrovia, Liberia, said Ramaphosa.

“I offer my deep condolences to the Mandela family as we mourn the passing of a fearless political activist who was a leader in her own right.

“Our sadness is compounded by this loss being visited upon us just days before the world marks the birthday of the great Nelson Mandela [on July 18].

“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.

“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.

“Her spirit joins Tata Madiba and Mama Winnie in a reunion of leaders to whom we owe our freedom,” said Ramaphosa.

The presidency also offered condolences to the late ambassador’s colleagues in the department of international relations and co-operation and the diplomatic community in SA and Denmark. 

Zindzi was the youngest daughter of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela. She was raised in Soweto and educated in SA and Swaziland.

Said the presidency: “Zindzi Mandela spent many years involved in the liberation struggle and embraced roles in the arts, philanthropy and business. In her political career she served as deputy president of the Soweto Youth Congress, was a member of the Release Mandela Campaign, and was an underground operative of Umkhonto we Sizwe.”

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