The death has been announced of Zindziswa Mandela, popularly known as Zindzi. She was the youngest of the three daughters of the Iconic South African apartheid fighter and former president; Nelson Mandela with late Winnie Mandela.
She was aged 59.
Until her death she was South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark.
She is mostly noted for reading her father’s letter from prison in 1985 rejecting the offer of freedom at a packed public meeting which was broadcast around the world which contained and highlighted some of his famous quotes thus;
“I cannot sell my birthright nor am I prepared to sell the birthright of the people to be free”.
“I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I and you, the people, are not free; your freedom and mine cannot be separated.”
“I am not a violent man. . . . It was only when all other forms of resistance were no longer open to us that we turned to armed struggle”.
“I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom”.
The late Zindzi studied law at the University of Cape Town and published a book of poetry entitled Black as I am in 1978. As a child, she spent a lot of time being raised by her sister Zenani, as both her parents spent time in prison.
Her father went to prison when she was just 18 months old and remained there until 1990. The former President of South Africa died in 2013, while her mother Winnie passed away in April 2018.
Zindzi is survived by her four children; Zoleka, Zondwa, Bambatha and Zwelabo, her husband Molapo.
According to a never seen before publication of Nelson Mandela’s correspondences by Independent , UK on Tuesday July 17, 2018 as contained in a book of 250 letters to commemorate what would have been his 100th birthday, among the letters is an affectionate one which he addressed to his children including the late Zindzi below;
To Zenani and Zindzi Mandela, his middle and youngest daughters, 4 February 1969
The nice letter by Zindzi reached me safely, and I was indeed very glad to know that she is now in Standard 2. When Mummy came to see me last December, she told me that both of you had passed your examinations and that Zeni was now in Standard 3. I now know that Kgatho and Maki have also passed. It pleases me very much to see that all my children are doing well.
I hope that you will do even better at the end of the year. I was happy to learn that Zeni can cook chips, rice, meat, and many other things. I am looking forward to the day when I will be able to enjoy all that she cooks.
Zindzi says her heart is sore because I am not at home and wants to know when I will come back. I do not know, my darlings, when I will return. You will remember that in the letter I wrote in 1966, I told you that the white judge said I should stay in jail for the rest of my life.
It may be long before I come back; it may be soon. Nobody knows when it will be, not even the judge who said I should be kept here. But I am certain that one day I will be back at home to live in happiness with you until the end of my days.
Do not worry about me now. I am happy, well and full of strength and hope. The only thing I long for is you, but whenever I feel lonely I look at your photo which is always in front of me. It has a white frame with a black margin. It is a lovely photo. For the last two years I have been asking Mummy to send me a group photo with Zindzi, Zeni, Maki, Kgatho, Nomfundo [Mandela’s niece] and Kazeka. But up to now I have not received it. The photo will make me even more happy than I am at the present moment.
Many thanks for the wonderful Christmas cards you sent me. Apart from yours, I received one from Kgatho and another from Mummy. I hope you received more.
Mummy visits me two or three times a year. She also arranges for Kgatho and others to see me. Father Long of the Roman Catholic Church, St Patrick, Mowbray, Cape Town, still visits me once a month. In addition, I am allowed to receive and write one letter every month. All these things keep me happy and hopeful.
Please pass my fondest regard to Father Borelli and tell the Mother Superior that I am greatly indebted to her and all the sisters there for the help and guidance they are giving you. Perhaps someday I may be able in some small way to return this kindness.
In December 1965 I received a letter from Zeni in which she also asked me to come back home, just as Zindzi says in hers. The English was good and the handwriting clear. But I was completely surprised to get one from Zindzi. Her English was also good and the writing was just as clear. You are doing well, my darlings. Keep it up.
With lots and lots of love and a million kisses.