While South Africa celebrated this Saturday, the Mandela Day marking the birth on July 18, 1918 of " Madiba ", this year, the international day was dedicated to the memory of Zindzi Mandela, her youngest daughter, who died in the beginning of the week. The president of south africa Cyril Ramaphosa himself had announced his death, but had remained silent on the cause.
Friday, shortly before his burial alongside his mother – who died two years ago – in a cemetery in Johannesburg, according to local media, his son, Zondwa Mandela revealed that his mother, aged 59 years, had been tested positive to the new coronavirus, the day of his death Monday in a hospital in the capital. The family waits, however, the results of the autopsy to know the exact causes of his death, he said.
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Fighting the stigma
information which has not gone unnoticed, as in a funeral prayer on Thursday evening, the president of south africa Cyril Ramaphosa has held " to thank the family of Mandela for having made this gesture to be very important to share with the nation this information ". "You are helping to ensure that the patients [of the Covid-19, editor's NOTE] should be accepted by society ", he estimated. "It is a virus that affects us all, and there should be no stigma attached to those infected ", he said. South Africa is the country of the continent the most affected by the pandemic Covid-19, with more than 324 000 confirmed cases, including 4 669 deaths.
Despite the public awareness of the spread of the virus, its symptoms and its effects, some cases of stigmatization of the people infected have been reported.
When his half-brother, Makgatho Mandela, died of aids in 2005, Nelson Mandela had officially announced the cause of his son's death, a participant to lift the taboo on this disease that was rampant in South Africa.
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Who was Zindzi Mandela ?
Zindzi Mandela had been raised by her mother, in the absence of his father who was imprisoned for twenty-seven years for his key role in the fight against the apartheid regime. She grew up in the thick of the fight anti-apartheid, endured years of harassment and intimidation of the apartheid regime, with his sister Zenani, and her mother Winnie. She even participated in the liberation movement. In 1985, in front of tens of thousands of people gathered in the township of Soweto (North), high place of resistance to the racist regime, the young Zindzi had read a speech of his father, then in prison, in which he rejected the proposal of the then president PW Botha to release him on condition.
Only two of the six children of Nelson Mandela are still alive : Zenani Dlamini, the daughter of Zindzi, and Pumla Makaziwe Mandela, a daughter from his first marriage, to Evelyn Mase.
Each year, South Africans commemorate the hero of the fight anti-apartheid. Usually on this day of international remembrance everyone is invited to devote 67 minutes to the service of others, in reference to his 67 years of activism and political action. This year, because of the pandemic situation, the Nelson-Mandela Foundation has organized a virtual conference live from Johannesburg and the united Nations headquarters in New York. The call of former president Nelson Mandela to the "human solidarity" is of vital importance since " the vast inequalities highlighted by the pandemic Covid-19 ", said the secretary-general of the united nations, António Guterres.
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