Zindzi Mandela, the youngest daughter of South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela has died aged 59, local media reported Monday.
“The 59-year-old daughter of former president Nelson Mandela and struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, passed away at a Johannesburg hospital in the early hours of this morning,” said public broadcaster SABC.
Zindzi was 18 months old when her father was sent to prison. Her mother was also imprisoned often at that time, leaving her in the care of her elder sibling, Zenani. In 1977 her mother Winnie was banished to Brandfort, then in the Orange Free State, and Zindzi moved with her, taking her out of her normal life. She then moved to Swaziland and upon finishing high school, enrolled at the University of Cape Town for a law degree.
She and her sister soon became effective spokespeople for her imprisoned parents. In 1985, the year she graduated, Zindzi was selected to read her father’s refusal speech after the then president PW Botha offered him conditional release from prison.
Zindzi has written poetry and has been published on several occasions. One of her works, Black As I Am, included pictures taken by revered Drum magazine journalist, Peter Magubane.
The deceased who is survived by her husband and four children, served as South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark. She first took up her position as the ambassador to Denmark in 2015.
The cause of her death was not immediately revealed.