Mandela’s great grand-daughter killed in car accident
Zenani Mandela, great-granddaughter of Nelson Mandela was killed in a car crash after returning home from the World Cup concert kickoff event which featured artists such as the Black Eyed Peas and Shakira. Zenani had just turned thirteen on Wednesday.
The car flipped over on a motorway in central Johannesburg just after midnight. No-one else was injured, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said.
Mr Mandela’s former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was treated in hospital for shock after being informed of the tragedy.
A family relative who was driving the car has been arrested and may be charged with homicide.
Police say he was drunk at the time of the crash.
A spokesman said: “We have arrested the driver and we are investigating charges of culpable homicide.”
Zenani, who celebrated her 13th birthday on June 9, was one of Mr Mandela’s nine great-grandchildren.
Following her death, it was confirmed Mr Mandela would not attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup.
“We are all still dealing with the shock of the passing of the child, we need to afford Madiba (Nelson Mandela’s tribal name) and his family the time to mourn,” Sello Hating from the Mandela Foundation said.
He added Mr Mandela “would be there in spirit”.
Nearly 95,000 fans packed into the Soccer City stadium to watch the opening ceremony along with 20 African heads of state.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter sent a letter of condolence to Mr Mandela.
It read: “I know that words are of little comfort at this time, my dear and most precious friend, but please know that my most sincere thoughts are with you, your family and all of those close to you.
“The entire football family mourns with you and your family, and today we stand by your side.”
Other VIPs at the ceremony included United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon and US Vice President Joe Biden.
South Africa has been enjoying a carnival atmosphere during the build-up to the World Cup, with fans from the 32 competing nations flying in from across the globe.