Zindzi Mandela, South African Ambassador, Poet and Activist, dies at 59



Zindzi Mandela, the youngest daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, has died as confirmed on Monday. Similarly to her parents, she lived a life fighting for the liberation of Africans in South Africa.

Zondwa Mandela, Zindzi’s eldest son, has confirmed that she had tested positive for Covid-19 before her passing.

“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-19 related complications, but simply that she tested positive for it.”

Her death arrived just five days before Nelson Mandela Day, an annual event that honours his many accomplishments concerning racial discrimination and human rights in South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa conveyed his deep sadness that her death would occur at this time.

“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,” he said as reported from Ramaphosa’s office.

She took the global stage in 1985, to respond to the white minority government offering her father’s release from prison, on the terms he denounced the violence at the hands of his movement, The National African Congress. His movement focussed on the eradication of the apartheid, a system that thrived on the discrimination of indigenous Africans. Zindzi famously read his letter of rejection, which was broadcasted worldwide.

In recent years, she caused a stir for tweeting on an issue regarding the land reform in South Africa. She tackled the situation of white farmers unjustly controlling the majority of the land, 25 years after the end of the apartheid system.

‘’Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally. #TheLandIsOurs’’

The organisation, Afriforum, later filed a complaint of alleged racism to the Human Rights Commission, in light of this, she responded: “I am not accountable to any white man or woman for my personal views.”

Zindzi Mandela’s boldness in the face of oppression is an inspiration to all Africans, a self-proclaimed rebel that ‘’never knew a normal life,’’. She has displayed in her life that we all have a voice, and when used for the freedom of others, it can make a difference.

She is survived by her husband, Molapo Motlhajwa, and her four children: Zoleka Mandela, Zondwa Mandela, Bambatha Mandela, and Zwelabo Mandela.

(This article first appeared in The West African Times)