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World Cup: Mandela to miss opener after fatal accident

June 11, 2010 |  4:01 am

After days of uncertainty, a spokesperson for Nelson Mandela said the former South African president would not attend Friday's World Cup opener between Mexico and South Africa.

The decision came following news that one of Mandela's great-granddaughters had been killed in an accident on the way home from Thursday night's World Cup concert in Soweto. The Nelson Mandela Foundation said the family was "torn up" by the accident, which took the life of Zenani Mandela, 13.  Reports said the driver of the vehicle that killed Mandela had been drinking. He was arrested and charged with drunk driving. He could also face homicide charges, police said.

It had been hoped that Nelson Mandela, 91 and in frail health, would be able to make a brief appearance at Friday's opening game to give the home team a boost. But foundation officials said after the accident that Mandela would "be there in spirit."

-- Kevin Baxter in Johannesburg