On Monday morning, Herald Live reported that Winnie Mandela, the second wife of Nelson Mandela, has died at age 81.
Her death was confirmed by her PA, Zodwa Zwane, according to the outlet.
Winnie was born in the Eastern Cape in 1936. She met Nelson Mandela in 1957 and the two tied the knot just a year later. They were married until 1996. Together, the couple had two children, Zindziswa and Zenani Mandela.
Read on to learn more about Zindziswa Mandela.
1. She Is the South African Ambassador to Denmark
Zindziswa, who goes by Zindi, was born in Soweto and serves as her country’s ambassador to Denmark. According to her Twitter page, she currently resides in Charlottenlund, Copenhagen. Although Zindsi’s arrival to Denmark was delayed, she was confirmed as the South African ambassador in March 2015.
In early March 2015, South African newspapers began reporting that Mandela’s boyfriend at the time “did not want to move with her” to Copenhagen. Mandela, herself, however, adamantly denied the claims.
Zindzi is the youngest daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela. She was born and raised in Soweto, South Africa, and spent a number of years “involved in South Africa’s freedom struggle and has embraced roles in the arts, philanthropy and business,” according to Mandela Legacy.
In 1985, she earned her BA from the University of Cape Town. She has been involved in many philanthropic efforts over the course of her career: Zindzi worked at Operation Hunger in the 80s, she is a Trustee of King Luthuli Transformation Center for Non-Violence, she is a member of the Advisory Board of LoveLife, she is a Trustee of the Progressive Sport and Recreation Development Trust, and she is a member of Lord Robertson’s Commission for Global Road Safety, leading the ‘Zenani Mandela Campaign’.
2. She Has Been Married Twice
Zindzi’s first husband was Zwelibanzi Hlongwane.
She married her second husband, Molapo Motlhawja, when she was 52 and he 37. Motlhajwa is a member of the South African National Defense Force.
Interestingly, Zindzi was asked many questions about her parents’ marriage after their separation. Eventually, at age 34, she explained to news outlets that her parent’s relationship would be ending in divorce. Speaking to Thandy magazine, The Independent reports her as saying that her mother still loved her father, but they did not have time to see one another, and it was as if they “don’t exist for each other.”
3. She Has Four Children
Zindzi has four children: Zoleka Mandela, (1980), Zondwa Mandela (1985), Bambatha Mandela (1989) and Zwelabo Mandela (1992).
Zoleka, Zindzi’s oldest, is a writer and activist. She has spoken out for many causes, including sexual abuse which she says she was a victim of as a child, as well as her addiction to drugs and alcohol.
In 2011, her 13-year-old daughter, Zenani, was tragically killed in a car accident while returning home from the opening concert at the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
In 2013, according to the Times Live, Zoleka released a book When Hope Whispers, in 2013. In it, she writes about how she was hospitalized for a suicide attempt not long after her daughter’s death.
Zoleka was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. According to Times Live, she faced another cancer scare in 2016, but is “determined to beat the disease.”
4. She Was 29 When Mandela Left Prison
Zindzi has followed closely in the footsteps of her father. She was only 29 when her father left prison. In an interview with The Telegraph, she explains, “For a long time after his release there was a lot of bitterness,” she said. “I never, ever imagined my father being president. I imagined him coming home and having a normal family life. When he came out of prison we only had a few moments with him as a family, before the reception committee joined us. I realized, ‘He’s still not mine.’ I always joke that at least when he was in prison I was guaranteed two visits a month.”
Zindzi was just 18 months old when her father was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. She tells the outlet about her first memory really meeting her father, saying, “I was 18 months and so afraid. I was waiting in the car with my sister at night outside Pretoria prison and there were hostile, uniformed men around. My mother had brought my father his favorite dish, a sort of lasagne made with soured milk and she was gone the longest time.”
5. She Is the Author of ‘Black as I Am’
Along with her many other accomplishments, Zindzi is the author of Black As I Am, a collection of poems. The book, which includes pictures by Peter Magubane, was published in 1978. According to Goodreads, Zindzi wrote the collection of poems at age 16.
A businesswoman on top of her aforementioned jobs, Zindzi has worked as the managing director of Zee Zee Promotions, director of Ster-Kineor, President of Mandela-Msomi Trading Enterprises, Director of Zendj Holdings, and is the founder of Mandela Legacy Inc.