Zindzi Mandela, Daughter of Nelson Mandela, Dead at 59

by Yah Yah

Zindzi Mandela, the daughter of former President of South Africa, Nelson, and political activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has passed away at age 59.

“Zindzi will not only be remembered as a daughter of our struggle heroes, Tata Nelson and Mama Winnie Mandela, but as a struggle heroine in her own right. She served South Africa well,” Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations, said in a short statement.

According to BBC News, Mandela died in a Johannesburg hospital in the early hours of Monday morning. The cause of death has not yet been released to the public.

Mandela became a household name in her own right after the white minority government offered to release her father from prison if he denounced violence executed by his movement, the Africa National Congress, against apartheid.

She had served as South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark since 2015.

Apartheid was a political and social system in South Africa during the reign of the white minority. The system enforced racial discrimination against people of color, spanning from 1948 until the early-1990s.

Zindzi Mandela read his letter rejecting the offer in a public broadcast that aired all over the world.

“I am surprised at the conditions that the government wants to impose on me. I am not a violent man. My colleagues and I wrote in 1952 to Malan asking for a round table conference to find a solution to the problems of our country, but that was ignored. I am in prison as a representative of the people and of your organisation, the African National Congress, which was banned. What freedom am I being offered whilst the organisation of the people is banned?” part of the letter read.

“I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom. Too many have died since I went to prison. Too many have suffered for the love of freedom,” the letter continued.

“I owe it to their widows, to their orphans, to their mothers and to their fathers who have grieved and wept for them. Not only I have suffered during these long, lonely, wasted years. I am not less life-loving than you are. But I cannot sell my birthright, nor am I prepared to sell the birthright of the people to be free. I am in prison as the representative of the people and of your organisation, the African National Congress, which was banned.”

Her husband and four children survive Zindzi Mandela.

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