SOUTH AFRICA is reeling this morning following the news of the death of Nelson Mandela’s 13-year-old great-grand-daughter in a car crash after last night’s World Cup kick-off concert in Soweto.
The nation’s icon Mandela, increasingly frail at 91, is now unlikely to attend the opening ceremony in front of 96,000 at Soccer City this afternoon.
A statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation said simply: "Zenani was travelling in a car returning from the World Cup Kick-Off Concert at Orlando Stadium when the accident occurred. There was only one car involved and no one else was injured."
Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was also in the car. Zenani, one of Mandela’s nine great-grand-children, died two days after her birthday. Police spokesman Noxolo Kweza said the driver had been arrested and police were investigating a case of culpable homicide.
The Mandela Foundation said the family had asked for privacy. Zenani was a granddaughter of Zinzi Mandela, Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's daughter.
Her death, and the enforced absence of Madibe (“Father of the Nation”) today will cast a deep shadow over events as the nation gears up for Africa’s first World Cup, which kicks off with the hosts taking on Mexico at 4pm local time (3pm in England).
Last night’s vibrant concert at Soweto’s Super Stadium paid frequent reference to Mandela, who is credited with a major role in bringing the World Cup to the continent for the first time.a