The youngest daughter of former South African president and liberation hero Nelson Mandela died Monday at a hospital in Johannesburg at the age of 59, according to reports.
Zindzi Mandela rose to international prominence when she read out Nelson Mandela’s rejection of then-President P.W. Botha’s offer of a conditional release from prison in 1985, Reuters reported.
The Mandela Legacy Foundation said memorial and funeral arrangements for Zindzi would be announced in a few days. No cause of death has been reported.
Botha offered to release Mandela from prison if he denounced violence perpetrated by his movement, the African National Congress, against apartheid, the brutal system of racial discrimination enforced in South Africa at that time.
Zindzi Mandela read his letter rejecting the offer at a packed public meeting that was broadcast around the world.
Last year, Zindzi Mandela 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 #TheLandIsOurs,” she tweeted in June last year.
South Africa’s foreign affairs minister Naledi Pandor expressed shock at Mandela’s death, describing her as a heroine.
“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. She served South Africa well,” said Pandor.
She is survived by her husband and four children.
Zindzi Mandela was Nelson Mandela’s sixth child and his second with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his second wife.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.