Political parties have joined the rest of the country in paying tribute to South Africa’s Ambassador to Denmark, Zindzi Mandela. The Mandela family released a statement this morning confirming her passing at a Johannesburg hospital. She was 59.

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader, Bantu Holomisa, passed his condolences to the family.

“Children and the Mandela family, we are saddened by the sad news, like her mom, she was not afraid to speak her mind, indeed she joined the rest of the people of this country in fighting for freedom of all South Africans. May her soul rest in peace.”

Former Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) President Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi says the late Zindzi Mandela served the country diligently as an ambassador to Denmark.

“On behalf his King of the Zulu nation, my family and the IFP I send the sincere condolences to the Mandela family, particularly to her children. It is difficult to believe that a person so full of life and energy is no longer with us. As a friend of her late parents, I have known Zindziswa all her life. She endured tremendous heartache in her childhood being separated from her father yet she grew up to have love for her country when she could easily harboured hatred.”

The EFF says Zindzi, as she was affectionately known, is a hero who stood by her mother Winnie Madikizela-Mandela when the movement they both loved persecuted her.

EFF Spokesperson Delisile Ngwenya also expressed their gratitude for being allowed to name their headquarters after Zindzi’s mother, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

“The EFF draws eternal inspiration from her for never turning her back on Mama Winnie Mandela. Moreover, even after apartheid, Mama Zindzi was with Mama Winnie Mandela when the movement they both loved persecuted her. Her dedication to Mama Winnie Mandela’s truth makes her the quintessential hero behind Mama Winnie Mandela. We will cherish her in the economic emancipation generation as one of our own.”

While the Democratic Alliance has not commented on Zindzi’s death yet, one of the party’s Members of Parliament expressed sadness in a tweet.

Earlier, her own party – the ANC  described Mandela as an important figure in the fight for the country’s democracy.

The governing party says the Ambassador’s passing is a huge loss to her family, the party and other Mass Democratic Movement formations and her big community of friends.

The ANC describes Zindzi as a leader in her own right who expressed her views without fear or favour.

Shock, sadness

Nelson Mandela Foundation has expressed shock at the Ambassador’s untimely passing.

In a statement, the foundation highlighted that today also marks the anniversary of the death of Madiba’s eldest son Thembekile, who died in a car accident in 1969. The foundation said Zindzi will be remembered for a rich and extraordinary life, marked by many iconic moments.

The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation have also paid tribute to Zindzi Mandela. In a statement, the foundation honoured the role Zindzi played while her father former President Nelson Mandela was in prison.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also expressed his deep sadness at the passing of Zindzi Mandela. Ramaphosa says the sadness is compounded as this happened days before the world marks Madiba’s birthday.

In the video below, little activity at the Mandela home in Soweto:

The political activist was the youngest daughter of struggle stalwarts Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

The law graduate is well known for her fearless spirit and her forthright opinions on land.

Zindzi was the one who read her father’s letter, rejecting a conditional release offer from P. W. Botha in 1985.

After her parent’s separation, later divorce, Zindzi was selected to go along with Mandela to his inauguration when he became the president of South Africa in 1994. She further became the stand-in, First Lady of the country, until her father remarried at the age of 80, in 1996.

After that, the mother of four embarked on various humanitarian activities as well as participated in local politics while trying to live up to the legacy of her parents.

In the video below, Zindzi reads her father’s iconic 1985 letter in Soweto: