JOHANNESBURG -- Nelson Mandela's 13-year-old great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash on the way home from a concert in Soweto on the eve of the World Cup, his office said Friday.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation said Zenani Mandela died in a
one-car accident after attending the World Cup kickoff concert at
the Orlando Stadium.
Johannesburg Metro police spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said the
driver of the car, a man, had been arrested and charged with
drunken-driving. Mamonyane said the driver, who police would not
name, could also face culpable homicide charges.
"The Metro police found that he was drunk," Mamonyane said.
"He lost control of the vehicle and it collided with a
Police spokesman Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said the driver would
appear in court for a preliminary hearing Friday, after which he
would be named.
The Mandela foundation has also denied reports that the former
president's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was in the car.
"She was not in the car," foundation spokesman Sello Hatang
told the AP.
Hatang asked that the Mandela family be given space to mourn,
adding that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was treated for shock at a
hospital after being informed of the accident and the death of her
great-granddaughter. Hatang said Madikizela-Mandela was admitted
"for a few hours" and had now been released.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter wrote to Nelson Mandela, describing
the young girl's death as "unspeakably tragic."
Blatter said Friday he fully understands that Mandela cannot
attend the opening ceremony and first match, and wrote that Mandela
will "be with us in spirit, for which we are incredibly
Thursday's World Cup concert had drawn tens of thousands of
people to Soweto, and traffic was congested into the early hours
Zenani, who celebrated her 13th birthday June 9, was one of the
anti-apartheid icon's nine great-grandchildren.
"The family has asked for privacy as they mourn this tragedy,"
the foundation said in a statement.
Mandela, who turns 92 on July 18, has largely retired from
public life although it had been anticipated he would make a brief
appearance at the World Cup opening ceremony Friday, depending on
his health and the weather conditions.
In a statement Thursday, the Foundation said it had been
"inundated with requests for meetings, and it will be impossible
for Mr. Mandela to accede to even a small fraction of these." But
Mandela met this week with members of the Black Eyed Peas, one of
the main acts at Thursday's concert, and Portugal captain Cristiano
Ronaldo and coach Carlos Queiroz - the latter a former coach of