Nelson Mandela’s daughter had coronavirus: Zindizi, 59, becomes the world’s highest profile victim of disease after dying in Johannesburg
Zindzi Mandela, the daughter of South African anti-apartheid leaders Nelson and Winnie Mandela, tested positive for coronavirus the day she died.
Her son Zondwa Mandela today revealed his mother did have the disease – but it has not been confirmed what caused her death aged 59 in hospital in Johannesburg on Monday.
Zindzi is the world’s highest profile victim of coronavirus, which has killed more than 4,400 people in South Africa alone.
The Johannesburg regime is fighting a worsening coronavirus outbreak despite keeping cases down early in the global pandemic with one of the world’s toughest lockdowns and quarantine regimes.
Zondwa told state broadcaster SABC: ‘My mother did in fact test positive for Covid-19 on the day of her passing.
Although, this doesn’t therefore mean that she died of Covid-related complications, but simply that she tested positive for it.
He added: ‘Simply by the virtue that there was a positive test, we are therefore obligated to function and work within the framework of the existing regulation related to such cases.’
Zindzi Mandela, South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, died on Monday morning in hospital.
Zindzi rose to international prominence when she read out Nelson Mandela’s rejection of then-president P.W. Botha’s offer for freedom in 1985.
The white minority government offered to release Nelson Mandela from prison if he denounced violence perpetrated by his movement, the Africa National Congress, against apartheid.
She read his letter rejecting the offer at a packed public meeting which was broadcast around the world.
South Africa has the most confirmed cases in Africa with over 224,000.
Gauteng province – home to Johannesburg where Zindzi died – has the country’s most cases with over 75,000, or 33 per cent.
Provincial official Bandile Masuku, a medical doctor, last week told reporters that Gauteng is preparing over 1.5 million graves.
‘It’s a reality that we need to deal with,’ he said, and it’s the public’s responsibility ‘to make sure that we don’t get there.’
But the province in a statement Thursday sought to calm fears, saying it ‘does not have over a million already open dug graves’ and clarified that the official was saying the province has enough space for that many.
It also said six members of Gauteng’s Covid-19 War Room have tested positive for the virus.
The number of cases in the country is continuing to rise with 12,757 reported on Wednesday alone.
Its death toll is fluctuating with 174 deaths reported on Tuesday and 107 reported on Wednesday. However, the total number of deaths is on an upwards curve.
Modeling has shown that South Africa will have between 40,000 and 80,000 deaths by the end of the year.
Speaking of Zindzi’s death, ANC spokesman Pule Mabe said: ‘This is untimely. She still had a role to play in the transformation of our own society and a bigger role to play even in the African National Congress.’
The Mandela Foundation posted earlier that on this day in 1969, Nelson’s eldest son, Madiba Thembekile – Zindzi’s half brother – died in a three-car collision, which left another four people dead.
Zindzi’s other half-brother, attorney Makgatho Mandela, died of AIDS in 2005.
His death led to an impassioned statement from then President Mandela, who called on the public to ‘give publicity to AIDS’ and to ‘not hide it’.
Another of her siblings died in 1948 at just 18-months old.
Last year Zindzi stirred controversy by calling for the return of the white-owned land to South Africa’s dispossessed Black majority.
‘Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally the land is ours,’ she tweeted in June last year.
President Cyril Ramaphosa led the tributes to Zindzion Monday.
‘Zindzi Mandela was a household name nationally and internationally, who during our years of struggle, brought home the inhumanity of the apartheid system and the unshakeable resolve of our fight for freedom,’ he said.
‘After our liberation, she became an icon of the task we began of transforming our society and stepping into spaces and opportunities that had been denied to generations of South Africans.
‘Her spirit joins Tata Madiba and Mama Winnie in a reunion of leaders to whom we owe our freedom.’
South Africa’s foreign affairs minister Naledi Pandor has expressed shock at Mandela’s death, describing her as a heroine.
Source: Daily Mail