Zindzi Mandela Dead, Nelson Mandela’s Daughter Dies At 59

Zindzi Mandela attends the premiere of The Weinstein Company's "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" at ArcLight Cinemas on November 11, 2013 in Hollywood, California.
Jason Kempin / Getty Images

Zindi Mandela, the daughter of Winnie and Nelson Mandela, had died at the age of 59 according to the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation. The cause of death is currently unknown.

Mandela worked as the ambassador to Denmark for South Africa, according to CNN. The youngest of the South African President’s children, died in Johannesburg on Monday morning.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office released a statement on Monday about Mandela’s death.

“I offer my deep condolences to the Mandela family as we mourn the passing of a fearless political activist who was a leader in her own right,” he said. “Our sadness is compounded by this loss being visited upon us just days before the world marks the birthday of the great Nelson Mandela.”

“Zindzi will not only be remembered as a daughter of our struggle heroes, Tata Nelson and Mama Winnie Mandela, but as a struggle heroine in her own right. She served South Africa well,” said South Africa’s foreign affairs minister Naledi Pandor.

Mandela was a leader in the global fight against racism. In her twenties, she released a poem that was published in the 1978 book Black As I Am. Her work also appeared in other publications, such as the book Somehow We Survive: An Anthology of South African Writing and Daughters of Africa.

Shortly after, she became known across the world stage after reading a letter aimed at the South African government. In the message read on behalf of her father, who died in 2013, she rejected the government’s offer to release the renowned leader on the condition that he rejected the anti-apartheid violence being carried out by the African National Congress, a group that he led.

Nelson Mandela smiles during a lunch to Benefit the Mandela Children's Foundation as part of the celebrations of the opening of the new One&Only Cape Town resort on April 3, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa.
  Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Around the same time, Mandela studied law at the University of Cape Town. She concluded her studies with a Bachelor’s degree in 1985, as The New York Times reports.

Last year, Mandela expressed support for a movement that would see land in South Africa owned by white people to be returned to the country’s displaced Black majority.

“Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally #TheLandIsOurs,” she tweeted.

The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said that South Africa would mourn the loss of the woman, who was a link between its divide past and its inclusive future.

The South African president’s eldest son died on the same day in 1969 in a car crash. His wife died in April 2018. Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, Mandela’s middle child, currently serves as an ambassador to South Korea. Mandela leaves behind four children and her husband.