Zindzi Mandela's Son Says She Tested Positive for COVID-19 Before Her 'Untimely' Death

The family is waiting for "a complete and full autopsy" to come back, her son Zondwa told a local news station this week

Zindzi Mandela
Zindzi Mandela in 2014. Photo: Paras Griffin/WireImage

Zindzi Mandela tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 the day she died, her son Zondwa Mandela told a South African news station on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old South African ambassador to Denmark and youngest daughter of former President Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, died at a Johannesburg hospital on Monday morning.

According to the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Zindzi's son says the family is waiting for "a complete and full autopsy" to come back.

"But there were other tests that were conducted and my mother did in fact test positive for COVID-19 on the day of her passing," Zondwa told SABC News. "Although this doesn’t therefore mean that she died of COVID-19 related complications, but simply that she tested positive for it.”

Zondwa, 35, said that his mom had other tests done prior to her death, as well, and that "those tests will give us further information as to what could have actually led to her untimely death."

Nelson Mandela and Zinzi Mandela
From left: Zindzi and Nelson Mandela in 2009. ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty

Zindzi will be laid to rest on Friday morning, according to Zondwa.

Because there was a positive test, he says the family is obligated to operate under coronavirus regulations but still hopes to give Zindzi a "very respectable sendoff."

The Nelson Mandela Foundation announced Thursday morning that "considering the global health crisis," it's asking those who wish to share their condolences with the family do so by signing a condolence book in the foundation's lobby area at its Johannesburg location.

The foundation said in a statement earlier this week that it was "shocked" to wake up to "the news of the untimely passing of Zindziswa Mandela" on Monday.

"Zindzi was someone we had come to know well and to love," the foundation's statement read. "She was our friend."

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was "deeply saddened" by Zindzi's death, according to a statement he tweeted Monday.

"I offer my deep condolences to the Mandela family as we mourn the passing of a fearless political activist who was a leader in her own right," Ramaphosa said. "Our sadness is compounded by this loss being visited upon us just days before the world marks the birthday of the great Nelson Mandela."

"Zindzi Mandela was a household name nationally and internationally, who during our years of struggle brought home the inhumanity of the apartheid system and the unshakeable resolve of our fight for freedom," Ramaphosa continued, adding, "After our liberation she became an icon of the task we began of transforming our society and stepping into spaces and opportunities that had been denied to generations of South Africans."

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