Zindzi Mandela, South Africa's current ambassador to Denmark and the youngest daughter of the late Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, is dead at age 59. She died early Monday at a hospital in Johannesburg, per a statement from the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa. The cause of death hasn't yet been revealed. "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," Naledi Pandor, the country's minister of international relations, said in a statement, per CNN. "She served South Africa well."
It was Zindzi Mandela who, in 1985 at a crowded public meeting, read her father's statement aloud rebuffing then-South African leader PW Botha's offer for his conditional release from prison, per the BBC. She started her ambassadorship to Denmark in 2015, the AP notes. Last year, Mandela became embroiled in a controversy over land rights, demanding whites return property to dispossessed Black South Africans. "We mourn the passing of a fearless political activist who was a leader in her own right," Ramaphosa tweeted Monday morning, adding that the timing of Mandela's death was especially poignant, as Nelson Mandela's 102nd birthday would have been on Saturday. With Zindzi Mandela's death, only two of Nelson Mandela's six children are still living. Zindzi Mandela is survived by her husband and four children. (Read more Nelson Mandela stories.)