Zindzi Mandela, South Africa’s Ambassador to Denmark and daughter of anti-apartheid icons Nelson and Winnie Mandela, has died at the age of 59, the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation said Monday.
“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 short statement Monday morning.
The department said it was still gathering information on the cause of Mandela’s death and expects to release a detailed statement later. Mandela, who was Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s youngest daughter, died early Monday morning at a Johannesburg hospital, according to a statement from the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The premier is “deeply saddened” by her death, the statement said. “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,” Ramaphosa said in the statement. “Our sadness is compounded by this loss being visited upon us just days before the world marks the birthday of the great Nelson Mandela.”
Zindzi Mandela pictured with father Nelson in 1992.
The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation also released a statement mourning Mandela’s death.
She was “regarded by many as a child of the nation,” the foundation said in a statement, and her death means “South Africa loses an important generational link connecting our divided history to the promise of better, more inclusive, tomorrows.”
A spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Foundation told CNN it is currently consulting with the Mandela family before it issues its own statement. The foundation earlier posted that on the same day in 1969, Nelson Mandela’s eldest son, Madiba Thembekile Mandela, died in a car crash.
A third sibling, Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, currently serves as South Africa’s ambassador to South Korea.