Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Ambassador Zindzi N. Mandela

Thank you so much for joining us in commemorating and celebrating the life and legacy of Ambassador Zindzi, who passed away in Johannesburg on Monday 13 July and was laid to rest on Friday 17 July 2020. Thank you to all who spoke so fondly of Zindzi, recited beautiful poems, touched us with your music and gave her the memorial she truly deserved. Yesterday, our speakers described Zindzi as humble yet free-spirited, as someone who encouraged all those around her to speak up and ultimately, someone who loved to love.

We at Crossing Borders, are heartbroken and devastated for the unexpected and massive loss of a beloved Patron and a rich source of inspiration. She was a light that will continue to guide us to continue, accelerate and expand our efforts to create space for dialogue and mutual learning alongside collaboration for people from across the globe on equal terms. 

We are heartbroken, yet we are happy that we got to know her and can rest in the knowledge that her ideas, spirit, commitment to advancing equal rights, justice and truth-telling will live on. It will continue to guide us and the world towards more equality, more respect, more generosity, and the celebration of Ubuntu unity in humanity and diversity in cultures and perspectives. She was and is the true embodiment of Ubuntu, according to which we of each other. 

We are heartbroken, yet take comfort from African beliefs, which she believed in, when the deceased lives offsprings behind, s/he is not dead. Those left behind will continue to remember, honour her/him, name the newborn after her/him while the dead continue to protect and bless the living. This African philosophy perceives society as a circular unit whose members are composed of the living dead, the living and those yet to be born. These three components are in constant flow and mutual reinforcement. Luckily, Zindzi left behind one daughter and three sons, who are all following on her footsteps to serve the community. She also has at least 9 grandchildren, two of whom lay to rest next to her and mom. Zindzi lives on. 

Furthermore, in some African traditions, the number of years a in person’s life is counted according to the person’s contribution to the community. Thus, some people live thousands of years while others, whose lives were destructive to the community, are counted as a minus. In that way, we are happy that Zindzi did not only live for 59 years but considering her positive and rich contribution to her community and to the world she has lived at least 59,000 years.   

So, let’s carry on the work. The road to freedom, equality, peace, and sustainability is long and bumpy, but together we can do it.

Pictures by Kannan P Samy 

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