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The death of Nelson Mandela's great granddaughter

Updated on February 12, 2015
Zenani is the little girl in green
Zenani is the little girl in green
South Africa and Nelson Mandela had high hopes for the World Cup
South Africa and Nelson Mandela had high hopes for the World Cup
A frail looking Nelson Mandela
A frail looking Nelson Mandela
Zenani with her great grandfather. She was one of nine great grandchildren
Zenani with her great grandfather. She was one of nine great grandchildren

June 10th 2010 saw a South African pop concert televised around the World, to mark the start of World Cup football 2010. It included headline artists such as The Black Eyed Peas and I had watched some of it on the BBC, in the UK. South Africa has endured such a painful history that it is good to see this fine country finally, not only participating in such an event, but actually hosting it. Local people were, and are, excited at the prospect.

So today 11th June 2010 the opening ceremony of the World Cup has been shown around the world. It looks set to be a World Cup to remember but has already been marred by sadness.

British TV have reported that Zenani, great granddaughter of Nelson Mandela was killed yesterday when the car in which she was travelling crashed. Last evening Zenani, along with thousands of other people enjoyed the music at the concert. The audience joined in with the singing and it appears to have been a very successful event.

South African roads are notoriously bad and only a couple of days ago a coach carrying British school children crashed killing 3 children. It would seem that despite South Africa's best efforts there is always something needing attention. In order to attract more visitors and tourists travel problems must be addressed.

The accident in which Zenani was killed was a one car accident. It has reported that the driver of the car involved has been arrested and charged with drink-driving. The driver could also face culpable homicide charges, but apparently this is often the case in South Africa. He will appear in the magistrates court shortly. Zenani was the only passenger to be killed. The police have stated that the driver was drunk and that he lost control of the vehicle.The vehicle then collided with a barricade

For now Nelson Mandela has been left mourning this young girl who was only thirteen on 9th June 2010. Mr Mandela is now a rather frail 92 year old. Watching him on TV the other day though I was struck by how vital this man still seems. He may be frail but he still retains a feistiness and heroic appearance.

There can be few people who do not know at least a little of Mandela's history but for those who do not:

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail for his political beliefs. Of course there is much more to his story which has been widely covered on Hubpages. During his time in prison his now ex wife, Winnie Mandela, stood by him and kept up the struggle for freedom. Without the Mandela's South Africa would have been a sorry place.

Obviously this loss has hit both Winnie and Nelson, plus other family members, hard. The family have asked for the press to give them time to mourn and have some privacy. These wishes should be respected.

It had been hoped that, despite his age, Nelson Mandela would attend the World Cup 2010 opening ceremony. Sadly, but understandably, he has now decided not to. As the family grieve it is yet another reminder of how cruel life can be. As South Africa enjoy the privilege of hosting the World Cup football competition for 2010 the father of South Africa will be missing.

The world's thought must go out to this inspiring family who now have more grief to face.



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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Yes he does UH.Thanks for dropping by but sorry that it is such sad news.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 

      10 years ago

      I saw your hub's title in my email and rushed to it. Didn't hear about his great granddaughter before reading this. Mandela seems so enthusiastic in the first picture, and then this tragedy...

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thhanks Ken and Mpg

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 

      10 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      I heard that headline last night. So sad. Thank you for filling in information with this Hub. Well written & presented.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Maria Giunta 

      10 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      How sad that yet another tragedy has hit Nelson Mandela and his family, and on the eve of the World Cup! Life can be so cruel. Thanks for a beautiful tribute Ethel.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks all. It is sad when you have to write such news. The Mandelas have had such a difficult path.

      Tony I hope the rest of the world cup celebrations help SA

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      You wrote a lovely and beautiful tribute to this tragic and the family. Well done, ethel.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Ethel, for a lovely and sensitive Hub on this tragedy. All through the opening ceremony this afternoon I could not stop thinking about Zenani and her wonderful great-grand father.

      Love and peace


    • dashingclaire profile image


      10 years ago from United States

      Drinking and driving yields the same results regardless of where in the world it happens. Very unfortunate for such a young life. Thanks for sharing in such a respectful way.

    • RedElf profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      Such a paradoxical story - so wonderful on a global scale that S.A. is hosting the cup, yet so sad on a personal level for the Mandela family. Thanks for this sensitive and honest article, ethel.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      So sad. You did a great job of telling us about it!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks for popping back Tim.

      Yes it is sad and the people deserve so much better. I know these things take time but they have had a lifetime of inequalities. Road safety is a must for all.

    • Simple Tim profile image

      Simple Tim 

      10 years ago

      Hi Ethel I seem to have deleted the second part of the comment- sorry about that.

      I do agree they do have problems it’s a pity that allot of these 'problems' has not been addressed to improve the lives of ordinary citizens instead of the focus on looking good for 2010. One of the main problems I noticed while living there was the MINI BUS TAXI! This horrendous system of mass transit is the primary mode of transport for most South Africans and they are statistically the biggest cause of road accident deaths in SA. If the country had invested in proper mass public transport systems in the next 10 years then bid for a major world event- this could have helped the situation by reducing the amount of car traffic.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull


      Tim I have answered your query which is now deleted I think. No I did not mean that Tim. All I meant was that I had read in the past that South African roads can be death traps. Apparently the death rate is high. I would hope that SA addresses this problem for all road users. Bad publicity about such problems as transport will deter tourists which all countries need.

      Good luck to them for the world cup and the future.

    • Simple Tim profile image

      Simple Tim 

      10 years ago

      Tragic Loss.May Zenani rest in peace..

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Very springboard.

    • Springboard profile image


      10 years ago from Wisconsin

      Truly a sad and tragic story.


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