Ahead of funeral, Zindzi Mandela remembered by ANC as a symbol of hope during apartheid

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The late Zindzi Mandela.
The late Zindzi Mandela.
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  • Zindziswa was the South African ambassador to Denmark at the time of her death.
  • She died on Monday in a Johannesburg hospital and it has since been confirmed she had tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Zindziswa Mandela was the youngest daughter of former president Nelson Mandela and struggle stalwart Winnie Mandela.

Ahead of her funeral on Friday morning, President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to Zindziswa Mandela, describing her as a symbol of hope to a traumatised nation during the struggle against apartheid.

Ramaphosa delivered a eulogy at a virtual memorial service hosted by the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) for Zindziswa who died in the early hours of Monday in a Johannesburg hospital. She was 59.

"What she did, the sacrifices, the hardships she went through, the difficult life she led, we will forever be grateful because it was done so our people can be free," he said.

"Her sacrifice and bravery are a source of inspiration to all of us."

READ | Zindzi Mandela tested positive for Covid-19, says son - family still awaiting post-mortem report

Ramaphosa added while the harsh days of apartheid were in the past, many challenges still remained and Zindziswa understood this.

These challenges included poverty, inequality and gender-based violence.

"Zindzi devoted her life to equality.

"She was brave enough to articulate her forthright views on the question of land. She did believe that land was a key determinant in how our people will finally get their economic freedom.

"Zindzi has departed this life, but her legacy will live on in our minds and in our hearts. History will record her contribution."

ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini said Zindziswa, who came from a prolific family, was a freedom fighter committed to the struggle until her final days.

"She never gave up."

Dlamini added Zindziswa had an "uncaptured mind and was unbought", like her mother, Winnie Mandela.

"She found her own space in the struggle, was not just a comrade because she followed mom and dad."

"In her own right, she decided to be part of the daunting task of forging forward and fighting for the liberation of South Africa."

READ | 'A leader in her own right' - Ramaphosa pays tribute to 'fearless political activist' Zindzi Mandela

Zindziswa's niece, Princess Swati Dlamini-Mandela, also paid tribute, describing her aunt as a vibrant and strong woman.

When reflecting on who Zindziswa was, Swati said she was a loving and supportive person, always there, always willing to listen and make a person laugh.

"She carved her own path in life, and did things on her own terms," she added.

News24 previously reported Zindziswa had tested positive for Covid-19 at the time of her death.

Speaking on Full View on SABC on Wednesday evening, her son, Zondwa Mandela, confirmed she had tested positive, saying they were still awaiting more tests results to determine the exact cause of death.

"There were other tests that were conducted and my mother did in fact test positive for Covid-19 on the day of her passing. Although this doesn't therefore mean that she died of Covid-related complications but simply that she tested positive for it."

Zondwa also confirmed his mother would be buried on Friday morning.

He said the family had chosen to bury her on Friday and not on Saturday as 18 July would be her father Nelson Mandela's birthday.

Zondwa described his mother as a resilient fighter, and someone who remained true to herself.

OBITUARY | Zindzi Mandela dies aged 59

"Very importantly, she was an amazing mother who ensured that we were given the strength to live according to our own purpose and journey.

"For someone who came from such a strong family, she knew that she needed to impart our own identity within in so that we could actually lead and carry on our own legacies."

Zondwa said his mother should be remembered for the good-natured person she was.

"She was a person that connected the family to its cultural roots, she was a person who loved, she had a great amount of friends and we want to continue to celebrate that happy side and amazing side of her.

"She remained true to herself, was free to speak her mind regardless of the occasion."

Zindziswa was South Africa's ambassador to Denmark at the time of her death.

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