Zindzi Mandela Remembered

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Zenani and Zindzi Mandela in 2014.

On Monday, July 13, South Africans awoke to the news that Zindziswa (known as Zindzi) Mandela, daughter of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Nelson Mandela had passed on. Mandela, who was serving as South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, passed on in Johannesburg. Being the child of two iconic anti-apartheid struggle icons, Mandela embodied their spirit in her own life and beliefs. The Daily Vox remembers some of her words.  

Zindzi Mandela on her mother

“I have tremendous respect for her. Her strength as a woman. She was able to be a single parent. She was always able to hold her head up high,” said Mandela in the days following her mother’s death. Mandela was only eighteen months old when Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. It was Winnie Mandela who raised her and her sister Zenani. Zindzi Mandela accompanied her mother to her exile by the apartheid government to Brandfort in the North West. 

Zindzi Mandela on her father

“He is a human being,” Zindzi Mandela said. “An extraordinary one, but a human being.” A New York Times article quotes her saying that at the time of the release of the Long Walk to Freedom movie. While she spoke about the struggles her father underwent during the anti-apartheid struggle, she was angry that he came out of prison with a message of reconciliation. “I just didn’t believe that people could change their minds overnight,” she said. In the days before her father passed on, Zindzi Mandela said: “Intellectually, I know he is dying. But emotionally, I am not ready.”

Her comments on the land

During the 2019 election year, land was a central issue that dominated the political space. Zindzi Mandela didn’t shy away from speaking about the issue and pledging her support for the need for redistribution. She tweeted her support saying “Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally #TheLandIsOurs”. Her comments garnered much criticism, especially from the rightwing. However, she stood by her comments even as Afriforum and other organisations sought to censor her voice. She said: “ “I am not accountable to any white man or woman for my personal views. No missus or baas here. Get over yourselves #OurLand.” 

Zindzi Mandela reads out Nelson Mandela’s rejection of President PW Botha’s offer of conditional release 

In February 1985, Zindzi Mandela attended a rally of the United Democratic Front in Soweto. The rally was held to celebrate Archbishop Desmond Tutu receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. She read a speech by Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned at the time which included her own opening and closing remarks. In the speech, she addressed the offer of conditional release that was given to her father by apartheid president PW Botha. She used the speech to reaffirm the struggle against the apartheid government. “They are clear that they are accountable to you and to you alone. And that you should hear their views directly and not through others,” she said. 

Featured image via GCIS

Compiled by Fatima Moosa.

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