'Zindzi Mandela, the activist with a twinkle in her eyes' - ANC's Ace Magashule pays tribute

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On February 10, 1985, the late Zindzi Mandela read a letter written by Nelson Mandela during his incarceration to a crowd of his supporters at Jabulani Stadium in Johannesburg.
On February 10, 1985, the late Zindzi Mandela read a letter written by Nelson Mandela during his incarceration to a crowd of his supporters at Jabulani Stadium in Johannesburg.
Gallo Images / Rapport archives
  • ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has launched a visual memorial to honour the lives of those the party has lost during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Magashule also paid tribute to late ambassador Zindzi Mandela, who died this week following a short illness.
  • He said her death called for introspection and renewed commitment to achieving the ANC's goals set out in its mission as a party.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has apologised and paid tribute to the late Zindzi Mandela, who he says must be remembered and honoured as a "true liberation soldier".

Magashule said Mandela remained a committed member of the former liberation movement, "despite everything".

He was speaking to the media just hours after Mandela, who died in Johannesburg on Monday, was laid to rest at the Fourways Memorial Cemetery, alongside her late mother Winnie and two grandchildren.

Mandela was the youngest daughter of two struggle icons - Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and South Africa's first democratic president Nelson Mandela.

Her family confirmed this week that Zindzi had tested positive for Covid-19.

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

"It's important that we acknowledge the mistakes we committed against the mother and her family. It's the time for us to be remorseful and show contrition," said Magashule.

He said the 59-year-old ambassador had often shared her anger and pain over injustices inflicted against her family.

"Some were too quick to believe the terrible lies about Winnie and her beloved daughters. Comrade Zindzi, more than anyone else, stood tall and defended her mother against these onslaughts," he said.

"It's for us to say formally that we are truly sorry for the hurt and pain that has been caused".

'Larger than life'

He also said the young Mandela had committed to being by the side of ANC national executive committee member Nomvula Mokonyane when she eventually went to testify at the commission of inquiry into state capture.

Numerous claims have been levelled against Mokonyane, including accepting bribes.

The ANC secretary general reflected on his first meeting with the former activist and their time as operatives for the former liberation movement's liberation army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, describing her as being larger than life, with a twinkle in her eyes.

Mandela's family held a private funeral in her honour, barring media from the tiny chapel and the cemetery.

OBIT | Zindzi Mandela, remembered for her 1985 address, dies at 59

This was also in line with current lockdown regulations in place across the country to combat the spread of Covid-19, including the prohibition of no more than 50 people at a funeral, social distancing and the compulsory wearing of masks.

Magashule also announced that the ANC was launching a visual memorial site, which would allow people to pay their respects whilst adhering to the "new normal", where most things are done virtually.

"A one-stop-shop allowing people to pay messages of condolences and will document the lives of fallen members and other distinguished members of society," said Magashule.

On Saturday, the party said it would join the world to mark what would have been the ambassador's late father's 102nd birthday.

Mandela Day, as it's become known was launched by the United Nations in 2009, where everyone is called upon to perform good deeds for 67 minutes in honour of the 67 years the former statesman spent behind bars, because of his efforts in trying to fight for a more just and equal society.

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