Monday, 13th July 2020: Death has snatched another member of our family too soon and left a gaping chasm of pain in the wake of her passing. We shall always treasure fond memories of her as a feisty, fearless and proud freedom fighter in her own right.
Zindziswa the youngest daughter of my grandfather, Nkosi Dalibhunga (Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela) from Mam Winnie, was very close to my father Makgatho Lewanika Mandela in the wake of uTatomkhulu’s incarceration. My father acted as a father figure to her in this difficult time.
My earliest and fondest childhood recollection of her was my mispronounciation of her name and i called her Zinjisha much to everyone’s amusement.
I have fond memories of the ride to Brandfort in her purple beetle to visit Mam Winnie. She and my dad were also instrumental in arranging my visit to Polsmoor Prison to meet my grandfather for the first time. I am eternally indebted as this marked an important milestone in my life and the genesis of my political education at a tender young age.
For a long time she was the only member of the Mandela family residing at 8115 Vilakazi street in Soweto and we shared many fond and treasured memories. Every time I came by, she would teach me how to play a piano in the lounge.
For most activists and ordinary South Africans though, it was the image of a beautiful courageous and fearless Zindzi that inspired them on an unforgettable day of the 10th February 1985 at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium. The UDF had organized a celebration of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Nobel Peace Prize Award.
She cut a colossal figure for someone still in her teens when she defied the authorities and read her father’s refusal of PW Botha’s conditional release. Her voice powerfully and courageously carried and conveyed Nelson Mandela’s resolute challenge to dismantle apartheid; unban the ANC; free all political prisoners and those who had been banished; the return of all exiles and to guarantee free political activity.
This is how we shall fondly remember her and remind ourselves that the long walk to freedom is far from over. In her honour and to the undying legacy of Madiba that as long as there is a single human being suffering anywhere, our struggle is far from over. Our country, our continent and our world is filled with suffering, the homeless, the poverty stricken and the unemployed; all longing for freedom from this burden.
Our family mourns the loss of a dear and loved one and our thoughts are especially with her children today. They too suffer the tragic loss at a young and impressionable age. They can be proud of her legacy as a critical voice always prepared to speak her mind and state her case without any fear.
We have lost a champion of the people’s right to land that so riled those opposed to her fearless stand on expropriation without compensation. We shall pursue this agenda in her honour without fear or faltering. Madlomo, your courage and outspoken manner on this critical issue made us all proud.
Aunt Zindzi’s words echoed Madiba’s voice powerfully on that historic day in 1985 and it must continue to ring loud in our ears and our hearts. “i cannot sell my birthright, nor am i prepared to sell the birthright of my people to be free.”
Lalangoxolo Nkosazana, Mthembukazi, Madlomo, Mzukulwana kaGabhaliduduma, igqibelo lika Dalibhunga!!
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and grandson of famed South African President Nelson Mandela. Member of Parliament (MP) South Africa National Assembly. All articles by Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela