Nelson Mandela will not attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup today following the death of his great granddaughter in a car accident last night, the South African organising committee have confirmed.
It had been hoped that the iconic 91-year-old would be able to attend despite his frail condition but last night’s tragic news means he will not be present at Soccer City for the opening extravaganza or the match between South Africa and Mexico which follows it.
A statement released from the organising committee read: “Mr Nelson Mandela this morning learned of the tragic death in an accident of his great-grand-daughter, Zenani Mandela (13 years old).
“It would therefore be inappropriate for him to personally attend the Fifa World Cup opening celebrations. We are sure that South Africans and people all over the world will stand in solidarity with Mr Mandela and his family in the aftermath of this tragedy.”
Zenani Mandela was killed on her way home from the World Cup Kick-Off concert last night. The driver was arrested and police said they were investigating a case of culpable homicide.
Zenani was one of the nine great-grandchildren of Mandela, whose vast charisma and prestige is credited with helping South Africa win the World Cup bid in 2004.
The death cast a shadow over the unprecedented excitement in South Africa, which was tormented for years by negative and even domestic pessimism that the world's most watched sporting event was too big for Africa to handle.
That pessimism has been transformed in recent weeks and South Africans of all races can scarcely contain their pride at being in the world spotlight.
I went to check this and it is true That really sucks. I'm sure the players would have been honored if Nelson Mandela had attended the first match, especially since South Africa is playing in the first match.
Why do you have "Niece" in the title though? It's his great granddaughter, as your post puts it.
by John Holden 4 years ago
RIP.A great man.
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