Durban - As the world prepares to mark what would have been her father Nelson Mandela’s 102nd birthday tomorrow, Struggle icon Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane will be laid to rest on Friday next to her mother and freedom fighter Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s grave at Fourways Memorial Park in Johannesburg.
The South African ambassador to Denmark had tested positive for Covid-19 before she died at a Johannesburg hospital, at the age of 59.
A former underground Umkhonto we Sizwe operative, she will be remembered for her extraordinary life that was marked with iconic moments including when she was banished to Brandfort, with her mother, and when she gave a speech on behalf of her father, in 1985, in which he rejected the government’s offer of a conditional release from prison.
During a memorial service, State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said: “I speak on behalf of Umkhonto we Sizwe Veterans about a fallen soldier of our revolution. When we received the news of the passing of Comrade Zindzi Mandela, a daughter of the soil and soldier for peace, we could not but reminisce about the significant role she played in the Struggle for the liberation of the South African People.
“At a very young age, she became immersed in the intricate operations of the people’s army and those who worked with her commend her never-die spirit and bravery as a soldier. May her soul rest in peace. Hamba Kahle Mkhonto. Lala ngoxolo MaDlomo.”
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the condolences book will be signed at the Houghton premises of the Nelson Mandela Foundation instead of at the Mandela family house in Soweto, according to the foundation.
“Considering the global health crisis, we ask that those who would like to send condolences to the Mandela family on the passing of Ambassador Zindzi Mandela, to please rather come to the foundation to sign the condolence book in the reception area, 107 Central Street, Houghton,” the foundation said.
Mandela-Hlongwane’s son, Zondwa Mandela, said the family had avoided burying her tomorrow because the country and the rest of the world would be marking Nelson Mandela Day.
In an SABC interview, he said: “We went through the final conversation and discussion in relation to the planning.
We can confirm that she will be buried at 7am on Friday.”
He did not give details of the exact venue for the funeral service or details of those expected to attend.
On his mother’s Covid-19 diagnosis, Zondwa said: “There were other tests that were conducted and my mother did in fact test positive for Covid-19 on the day of her passing. Although this doesn’t therefore mean that she died of Covid-related complications, but simply that she tested positive for it.
“Several other tests have been done and those tests will give us further information as to what could have led to her untimely death.”Mandela-Hlongwane’s death
“Long live her spirit… May we continue to be inspired by her Anant Singh Film producer
touched people within the borders of the country and abroad.
The Waterford KaMhlaba United World College of Southern Africa, the school in northern Swaziland where Mandela-Hlongwane went after being hounded out of South African schools by the apartheid government, paid tribute to her.
“Waterford KaMhlaba United World College of Southern Africa has learnt with sadness about the death of our alumna, Zindziswa Mandela… We will keep the family, friends and South African society in our thoughts and prayers during this sad moment,” the college said in a statement.
Film producer Anant Singh shared a personal video tribute to Mandela-Hlongwane.
“Long live the spirit of Zindzi Mandela! Long live! May we continue to be inspired by her. This is my tribute to her indomitable spirit,” said Singh.
Former president Jacob Zuma said he received the news of her passing with “shock and sadness”.
“We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family, to the liberation movement and to the people of South Africa at large for the loss of this daughter of our Struggle icons who was also a freedom fighter in her own right, may her soul Rest In Peace,” Zuma said.