Zindzi Mandela, the daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, has died at age 59.
According to public broadcaster SABC, Zindzi, who served as South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, passed away early Monday morning at a hospital in Johannesburg. The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation also confirmed the devastating news.
Her cause of death has yet to be revealed.
“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,” Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor said in a statement.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa paid his respects on Twitter, remembering Zindzi as a “fearless political activist who was a leader in her own right.”
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
Per the BBC, Zindzi had been posted to Denmark in 2015 and had been designated to become South Africa’s head of mission in Monrovia, Liberia.
Zindzi was Nelson’s sixth child and his second with Winnie, his second wife.
In 1985, she famously read out her father’s rejection of then-president PW Botha’s offer for conditional release from prison.
Zindzi graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1985, and served as a stand-in first lady of South Africa from 1996 to 1998.
Known as an anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nelson was released from prison in 1990 and served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He passed away in December 2013 at age 95.
Winnie — whose marriage to Nelson ended in 1996 — passed away in April 2018 at age 81.
Our condolences go out to the Mandela family for their loss.