AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo has paid tribute to Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane, South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, describing her as having been a blessing in his life.
Mandela-Hlongwane passed away in a Johannesburg hospital on Monday. She was 59.
Her death comes two years after that of her mother, ANC icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
“You were such a blessing to me, a thought of you gave me hope under difficult times of my life. Your smile used to brighten the dark corners in our kingdom,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
The king said he had hoped to meet Mandela-Hlongwane to console her about the loss of her mother.
The king was in jail when Madikizela-Mandela died in 2018 but his message of condolence at her funeral was read out at the FNB Stadium by his spokesperson Prince Mthunzi Ngonyama.
The king said Mandela-Hlongwane spoke truth to power and had made her parents proud.
He said as a little girl, born of freedom fighters, Mandela-Hlongwane played her part in the fight for freedom and was a hero of the struggle in her own right.
“You will be sorely missed. I am still processing the sad news, asking myself so many questions. How could death snatch my beautiful big sister in this ruthless way? I was still hoping that we would meet soon, to console each other over the great loss of your mother, umakhulu uWinnie Madikizela-Mandela.
“I can imagine a deep sorrow that your passing has caused to your children and grandchildren, dadobawo [aunt]. May they too find comfort in prayer and appreciate the decades that God gave us to spend with you. May your sweetness bind together the open bleeding deep wounds to the family and help us to find peace and stability inside,” said Dalindyebo.