Zindzi Mandela, Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s daughter, has passed at the age of 59. The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation confirmed the death of the Ambassador to Denmark on Monday (July 13), as CNN reports.
“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 is currently still gathering information regarding the cause of Zindzi’s death. A detailed statement is expected to be released later. Zindzi died early Monday morning at a Johannesburg hospital, according to a statement from the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
According to the statement, the premier is “deeply saddened” by her death. “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.”
The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation also released a statement mourning the politician’s death. Zindzi Mandela 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 the news outlet it is currently consulting with the Mandela family before it issues its own statement.
Earlier, the foundation posted that on the same day in 1969, Nelson Mandela’s eldest son, Madiba Thembekile Mandela, died in a car crash. Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, a third sibling, currently serves as South Africa’s ambassador to South Korea. In 2013, Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95.