Zindzi Mandela Dies at age 59

Zindziswa “Zindzi” Mandela, the daughter of former South African leader, Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has died at the age of 59.

Zindzi passed away at a Johannesburg hospital in the early hours of this morning, according to SABC.

The deceased served as South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark.

Mandela, Winnie and Zindziswa (baby)

Zindzi is survived by her four children and her husband.

Life story

Born on 23 December 1960 in Soweto, Zindzi was the younger sister of Zenani Mandela and the third of Nelson Mandela’s three daughters.

The year of her birth was also the year that the African National Congress (ANC) launched an armed wing. Her parents were wanted by the government.

By the time her father was sent to prison Zindzi was 18 months old. During her youth Zindzi was often left in the care of her older sister Zenani Mandela when her mother was sent to prison for months at a time.


In 1977 her mother was banished to the Free State and Zindzi lived with her. Zindzi was not able to complete her education until she was sent to Swaziland.

Eventually her mother was allowed to move back to Soweto.

In 1985 her father was offered a conditional release by the South African president, P. W. Botha. Her father’s reply could not be delivered by her parents and Zindzi was chosen to read his refusal at a public meeting on 10 February 1985.

She studied law at the University of Cape Town, where she earned a BA in 1985.

Her poetry was published in 1978 in the book Black as I Am.

Zindzi was married twice and had four children: Zoleka Mandela, (1980), Zondwa Mandela (1985), Bambatha Mandela (1989) and Zwelabo Mandela (1992).

Her first husband was Zwelibanzi Hlongwane. She married her second husband, Molapo Motlhajwa, who was a member of the South African National Defence Force, in March 2013.

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