Zindziswa Mandela


Zindziswa “Zindzi “ Nobutho Mandela, the youngest daughter of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela,  was as 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.”, Zindzi in more recent years was posted to Denmark as an ambassador in 2015 and had been designated to become South Africa’s Head of Mission in Monrovia, Liberia.

Zindzi is best remembered for her defiance, which she retained throughout her life, most recently voicing her support for accelerated land reform. Her notable, early foray into the spotlight in her own right was when she read her jailed father's speech in Jabulani Stadium, Soweto, in February 1985, rejecting then-president PW Botha's conditional offer of freedom. She was a leader in her own right, a mother, a sister, a friend and a wife.


  • December 1960


    Zindzi Mandela was born on 23 December 1960 in Soweto, in what was then the Union of South Africa to Nelson and Winnie Mandela. The year of her birth was also the year that the African National Congress (ANC) launched its armed wing. Her parents were wanted by the government. By the time her father was sent to prison, Zindzi was 18 months old. During her youth, Zindzi was often left in the care of her older sister Zenani Mandela when her mother was sent to prison for months at a time.

  • January 1977


    Zindzi's mother was banished to the Orange Free State in 1977 and she went to live with her there. Zindzi was not able to complete her education until she was sent to Swaziland. Eventually, her mother was allowed to move back to Soweto. Zindzi studied law at the University of Cape Town, where she earned a BA in 1985. 


  • January 1978


    Zindzi's father was offered a conditional release in 1985 by the then-State President, P. W. Botha. Her father's reply could not be delivered by either one of her parents. Consequently, Zindzi was chosen to read his refusal at a public meeting on 10 February 1985. Her poetry was published in 1978 in the book Black as I Am, with photographs by Peter Magubane, and has also appeared in publications including Somehow We Survive: An Anthology of South African Writing, edited by Sterling Plumpp, and Daughters of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby
    From 1996 to 1998, she served as a stand-in First Lady of South Africa. Zindzi was appointed South Africa's ambassador to Denmark in 2014. She first arrived in Denmark in June 2015.

  • January 1980


    Zindzi was blessed with four children: Zoleka Mandela (1980), Zondwa Mandela (1985), Bambatha Mandela (1989) and Zwelabo Mandela (1992). 

  • July 2020

    Passed Away

    Zindziswa Nobutho Mandela Passed away on the 13th of July 2020 at a hospital in Johannesburg, at the age of 59.




Office of the Chief Whip; Hon. Pemmy Majodina


The ANC Caucus has today, Monday 13th July 2020, learnt with a deep sense of shock and sadness of the passing of Ambassador Zindziswa “Zindzi” Nobutho Mandela during the early hours of this morning. As Caucus we join millions of South

Africans in mourning the untimely passing of a patriot who lived her life with bravery following her name- Nobutho, The Warrior. This tragic loss is felt more profoundly as it occurs on the very same day as in 1969 when your brother Thembekile lost his life in a car accident.  We therefore dip our revolutionary banners in honor of a revolutionary whose entire life mission espoused Che Guevara’s immortal feelings of love, compassion, dedication and patriotism.

Your fearlessness resonated and cascaded all facets of your life and propelled many young people to join the struggle for freedom.

Ambassador Zindziswa Mandela inspired a generation of leaders of young people who have now swelled the ranks of the Movement as well as the democratic Government.

It was on the 10th February 1985 when your father, Isithwalandwe Nelson Mandela was offered a conditional release by the then apartheid regime and heroically you stood in that platform in Jabulani Stadium and delivered the message on his behalf. That act of heroism on that day placed you centrally in the hearts of many fearless young people who continued to render the country ungovernable.

As the Deputy President of Soweto Youth Congress; Comrade Zindzi Mandela worked with youth and student organizations and was recruited as an Umkhonto we Sizwe underground operative. Her role and participation in the Release Mandela Campaign is worthy of being mentioned as it assisted in the international mobilization in support of the struggle for freedom. As a diplomat, Ambassador Zindziswa Nobutho Mandela served the nation and completed her stint as South Africa’s representative in Denmark finishing a posting she had started on the 17th June 2015. At the time of her passing, Ambassador Zindziswa Mandela was about to take up a posting as South Africa’s representative in Liberia. 

We will in your memory continue the fight against Gender-based violence and its ramifications in all of society including in the context of marking the 25th year anniversary of the Adoption of the Beijing Platform of Action.

For its part, Parliament will also continue its work on land reform through its Ad – hoc committee on amending Section 25 of the Constitution; an area of work that was close to your heart – the return of the land to its rightful owners.

Caucus extends its heartfelt condolences to your children Zoleka,Zondwa,Bambatha; Zwelabo and the grandchildren. Phumla ngoxolo maDlomo, Madiba, Zondwa, Yem- Yem, Sophitsho, Ngqolomsila! 


Meokgo Matuba ANCWL Secretary General

The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) mourns the untimely passing of comrade Zindzi Mandela. She will not be remembered only as a daughter to our late formidable leaders in the ANC, Cde President Nelson Mandela and our beloved former President Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. She was an astounding political activist, a gallant fighter and a leader in her own right. 

Comrade Zindzi was active in the struggle against apartheid since early age. She gained international recognition when she read out her father's rejection letter of PW Botha's offer for freedom in 1985. Even on the post democratic South Africa she stood against any injustices and owned her voice. As the women’s league we witnessed her commitment towards changing the lives of others through her philanthropy work. She continued to be an agitator of the establishment and openly expressed her views on land redistribution. 

In her time of passing, Cde Zindzi was a South African ambassador to Denmark. A position where she represented our country with diligence and commitment. She was an astute diplomat, a business woman, a mother, a wife, a sister and an excellent leader in society. 

As the women’s league we will remember Cde Zindzi for her strength, fighting spirit against injustices and humungous contribution to the democracy we enjoy today. She was exemplary in carving her own path beyond her parent’s accolades and social standing. 

To her family, friends, and all her loved one’s, may you find comfort in knowing that you have our support and in our prayers in these trying times. We are indeed saddened by the loss of this courageous leader, who had promising years ahead. Lala Ngoxolo Madlomo, ugqatso ulufezile. 


Slauzy Mogami


Morning comrades. After receiving a call yesterday to write something about our beloved comrade, and activist sister, Zindzi Mandela, it has proved to be a tough call indeed for most of us. We do not even know where to begin! I, for one, finds it very difficult. All I can try and do, is to collect my random thoughts and memories of an amazing sister, mother, and comrade, who - like her mother - was brave, fearless, and totally selfless. 

I remember how as a very young woman, Zindzi was always the adult - even though she was younger than most of us. Just to mention a few incidences: While living with her at 8115 Orlando-West, together with Cdes such as MK Malefane, Oupa Seakamela, Mzwakhe Mbuli etc, I once came home from rehearsal for a play I was in with the likes of Sbongile Khumalo, Ramolao Makhene, Arthur Molepo (It was directed by Malcolm Purkey and William Kentrige etc.). Someone had given me the keys to fetch something from the car, although I had never driven a car in my life I got into the car and switched on the engine to the horror of onlookers. I can only thank God nobody was hurt. The first thing that Zindzi did when I told her, was to look at me, and and she told me in that strong voice of hers, “But you don't drive?!” 

To myself, MK and Cde Vusi arriving early in the morning in Bradford with only one request from her, “a barrel of KFC”. UMama always confused our voices, sometimes saying something about me thinking she was talking to Zindzi! There are the priceless memories of sitting for long hours in bed, talking and teasing special branch on the phone when we knew they were listening! Zindzi had the most hearty, loud laughter, and an amazing sense of humor. Her animated talking was always accompanied by funny gestures. Her voice, hands and eyes always talked together in the most amazing way. She was genuine, straightforward, and truthful - an open book. 

Zindzi was amazingly strong! Always calling me to order, and reminding me how uMama taught us that we should NEVER cry in front of our enemies. When we were short of food she would tell MK, who was in charge of housekeeping money and orders from Mama in Branford, that we should cook a big pot of Mqushu and keep reheating it for days. Comrade Zindzi steadfastly refused to ever feel sorry for herself, and she expected the same courage and strength from us. We would sometimes be alone in the house protected outside only by our beloved dog called Krushev! 

Comrade Zindzi had the biggest of hearts, and with her deep compassion she would take over other people's pain and suffering, as if it was her very own. I learnt so much from her. She encouraged me by wearing the first garment I made, reminding me how I would one day tell people she was my first fashion Model. 

Later in life she would come over to my house with the kids, and we would trick Madiba when he would call at 8am! I would take the call, and he would think he is talking to Zindzi, looking for her and Rochelle! 

I remember how this selfless sister of mine - who knew how nervous I was with butterflies in my stomach on the first opening of the play at Market Theater - m add sure that she came with Archbishop Tutu, MK and others to take the front raw seats to watch me perform for the first time. 

There are also the priceless memories of watching her as a young mother to cute little baby Zoleka. Throughout her life, sometimes under the most difficult of circumstances, Zindzi was a dedicated, loving and caring mother. In that she was the personification of her own mother, uMama Winnie, who loved her two daughters deeply and unconditionally. 

Recently Zindzi called all those who mattered to her, and her dear Mother, to come together and to work together to build Mama Winnie’s legacy. When she did so, little did she know that she would soon join her beloved Mother. 

My dearest sister and comrade may your beautiful, brave, soul Rest In Peace! As I say this I can feel the lump in my throat, and I want to cry, but I can hear Zindzi’s strong voice admonishing me that we must always be strong, for the the sake of our people. 

My dearest sister’s life was whole. There was no separation between her private life, and her political existence. For her the personal was political, and the political was personal. If there was one thing she would have asked all of us to commit ourselves to, it is to continue with the struggle until our people are truly free.


Pule Mabe


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