Mandela tragedy clouds 2010

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THE familiar voice rang across the stadium where tens of thousands of people seethed in anticipation of the start of the greatest show on Earth. “The generosity of the human spirit can overcome all adversity. Through compassion and caring we can create hope.”

The voice belonged to Nelson Mandela, the world’s greatest statesman and South Africa’s most beloved citizen. When he speaks everyone listens – but as his message was delivered the hush that descended over Soccer City held more than respect. It bore sympathy for a tragic loss, a death that will forever cloud the World Cup for SA’s first family.

The words of the 91-year-old former president’s message, pre-recorded for the start of the football spectacular, were strangely appropriate – yet no matter how much generosity of human spirit is extended towards the Mandelas it will take a while for them to overcome their grief.

The death of Zenani Mandela in a car crash two days after her 13th birthday has affected her great-grandfather Madiba very badly, a family source says. Mandela was too distraught to attend the opening ceremony while Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had to be treated in hospital for shock after hearing of the passing of her great-granddaughter.

The rest of the family has appealed for privacy while they mourn a young girl who was clearly so special to everyone.

Zenani was the daughter of Zeleka Seakamela, who is Zindzi Mandela’s daughter.

Read the full article in the YOU of 24 June 2010.

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