Zindzi Mandela, South Africa's Ambassador to Denmark and the daughter of activists Nelson and Winnie Mandela, has died at the age of 59, the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation announced Monday morning. The anti-apartheid icons' youngest daughter died early Monday morning at a Johannesburg hospital, although her cause of death was not immediately released.
"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 statement Monday morning. The department added it was still gathering information on Mandela's death and would release a more detailed statement later.
Mandela had been assigned to Denmark in 2015 after being designated to become South Africa's head of mission in Monrovia, Liberia, and was known in recent years for her support of radical land reform in South Africa. The office of President Cyril Ramaphosa also released a statement on Mandela's passing, calling her a "fearless political activist" and a "leader in her own right," while also noting he was "deeply saddened" at the news. Ramaphosa shared a condensed version of the statement on Twitter.
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. pic.twitter.com/RC0YQ6VEvf— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) July 13, 2020
The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation also released a statement mourning Mandela, saying she was "regarded by many as a child of the nation" and her death means "South Africa loses an important generational link connecting our divided history to the promise of better, more inclusive, tomorrows." The foundation noted that on the same day in 1969, Nelson Mandela's eldest son, Madiba Thembekile Mandela, died in a car crash. Their third sibling, Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, currently serves as South Africa's ambassador to South Korea.