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Zenani Mandela, 13: A famous family says farewell

June 18, 2010 | 11:18 am


Times staff writer Robyn Dixon writes of a "simple tragedy" that touched South Africa's most famous family:

At her funeral, her mother wished she'd given the girl more hugs and more kisses. Her grandfather said she was an "old soul" who understood the world better than most adults. Her father extolled her musical abilities. Her uncles said she was mischievous, charming and sometimes irritating.

And in the front pew at the funeral sat an old man who rarely ventures into public these days: Nelson Mandela saying farewell to 13-year-old Zenani Mandela, one of his nine great-grandchildren.

Zenani had attended a kick-off concert on the eve of the World Cup and was killed in a car accident on the way home. The driver, a family friend, has been arrested and may be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, according to South African news reports.

Click on the hyperlink above to read the rest of the story.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Nelson Mandela, 91, arrives for his great-granddaughter's funeral, which was held at a chapel at her school north of Johannesburg in South Africa. Credit: Themba Hadebe / Pool Photo