Mandela family buries ‘angel gone too soon’

2010-06-17 14:28

The Mandela family gathered to say goodbye to Zenani Zanethemba

Nomasonto Mandela (13) at St. Stithians College in Johannesburg this


“For an Angel Gone Too Soon,” the memorial leaflet read as sombre

relatives – among them former president Nelson Mandela – made their way into the

chapel in the cold wind.

Zenani had celebrated her 13th birthday two days before she was

killed in a car accident on the way back from the 2010 Fifa World Cup Kick off


Her uncle, Prince Dlamini, spoke of the days before her death when

she met soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo at the Mandela home on her birthday and

had boasted that he was there to see her.

He said she had been excited at the kick-off concert, “she danced,

laughed, sang and waved around a glowstick the whole evening”.

Tributes, which poured in from around the world, included one from

American singer John Legend. Super-model Naomi Campbell sent a video message to

the family, which was played at the service.

A collection of photographs of Zenani was displayed, while Bill

Withers’ “Lean on Me” played.

Zenani’s best friend, Mario Ambrosio, said through tears: “Your

heart was like a temple, full of gold for all.” The girls had planned to have a

joint 13th birthday party before Zenani’s death.

Her mother, Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of Winnie

Madikizela-Mandela, had asked Refiloe Seakamela to read a speech on her behalf.

She spoke of the things she (Zoleka Mandela) should have done while Zenani was

alive: “I should have let you sleep in longer.

I should have listened more. If I

did all of this, would you come back to me, even for a few seconds?”

She said Zenani had made her the woman that she was: “I can’t do

this without you,” she said, “so much of me was taken with you.”

Evans Mandowa spoke on behalf

of Zenani’s father, Casey Moyo. “I rest assured knowing that she is among the

angels in heaven,” he said.

» Sizwe Mankazana, the

23-year-old man who was driving the car that Zenani was killed in, is expected

to appear in court on July 26. He is the son of Zindzi Mandela’s partner. Zindzi

is Zoleka Mandela’s mother.

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