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Zindzi Mandela

Zindzi Mandela

Nelson Mandela's daughter
Zindzi Mandela
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Nelson Mandela's daughter
Is Politician Diplomat
From South Africa
Type Politics
Gender female
Birth 23 December 1960, Johannesburg, South Africa
Age 59 years
Star sign Capricorn
Mother: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Father: Nelson Mandela
Siblings: Thembekile MandelaMakgatho MandelaMakaziwe MandelaZenani Mandela-Dlamini
Children: Zoleka Mandela
The details


Zindziswa Mandela (born 23 December 1960), also known as Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane, is a South African politician who is currently serving as her country's ambassador to Denmark. The daughter of anti-apartheid activists Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Zindzi is the younger sister of Zenani Mandela and the third of Nelson Mandela's three daughters.


Zindzi Mandela was born on 23 December 1960 in Soweto to Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela. Her father was both a direct descendant of holders of the kingship of the Thembu people and an heir to the chieftaincy of Mvezo. Zindzi's nephew Mandla, descended from Mandela via his first wife Evelyn Mase, currently holds the latter title.

The year of her birth was also the year that the African National Congress (ANC) launched an 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.

In 1977 her mother was banished to the Free State and Zindzi lived with her. Zindzi was not able to complete her education until she was sent to Swaziland. Eventually her mother was allowed to move back to Soweto.

In 1985 her father was offered a conditional release by the South African president, P. W. Botha. Her father's reply could not be delivered by her parents and Zindzi was chosen to read his refusal at a public meeting on 10 February 1985.

She studied law at the University of Cape Town, where she earned a BA in 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.

Release of father and First Lady

When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, immediate talks began between the unbanned political party the ANC, and the ruling government the National Party to dismantle the Apartheid system.

With then ANC president Oliver Tambo's health deteriorating, Mandela was elected as the new ANC president and a candidate for the President of South Africa in the upcoming 1994 general elections.

After Mandela was elected president and his divorce from Winnie in 1996, Zindziswa was chosen to accompany her father to his inauguration and become the stand in First Lady of South Africa until her father remarried in 1998 on his 80th birthday to former Mozambique first lady Gra├ža Machel.


Mandela-Hlongwane is said to have agreed to arrange a boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to coincide with her father's birthday in 2011. The match did not take place and the boxing promoter Duane Moody sued successfully for a US court to order that she pay $4.7m, plus costs, in damages to Moody. Mandela-Hlongwane was expected to appeal.


In 2014 she was reported to be South Africa's ambassador to Denmark. She first arrived in Denmark in June 2015.

Personal life

Zindzi has been married twice and has four children: Zoleka Mandela, (1980), Zondwa Mandela (1985), Bambatha Mandela (1989) and Zwelabo Mandela (1992). Her first husband was Zwelibanzi Hlongwane. She married her second husband, Molapo Motlhajwa, who was a member of the South African National Defence Force, in March 2013.


Twitter controversy

In June 2019, while ambassador to Denmark, Mandela's Twitter account sent a series of increasingly strongly worded Tweets, where she discussed "trembling white cowards who are the thieving rapist descendants of Van Riebeck [sic]", and "uninvited visitors who don't want to leave" that caused significant controversy. Mandela-Hlongwane had previously that month expressed her "deep, pure unconditional love and respect" for "CIC" (leader) of the Economic Freedom Fighters(EFF), Julius Malema.

While being investigated by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) for breaching their social media policy, Mandela remained defiant, Tweeting that "I am not accountable to any white man or woman for my personal views. No missus or baas here. Get over yourselves #OurLand". She was ordered by foreign minister Naledi Pandor to "conduct herself as a diplomat" and to adhere to the department's social media policy, and concern about her views was expressed by former president Thabo Mbeki, and her views were described as hate speech by ANC veteran Mavuso Msimang, while her opinions drew support from the EFF and the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala. Her Tweets came close to the end of her four-year term as ambassador to Denmark.

In popular media

  • In the 2009 BBC telefilm Mrs Mandela, Zindzi was portrayed by Refilwe Pitsoe.
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 17 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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