Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Death in the Family, on the World Cup's Eve

On her way home from a celebratory concert to kickoff the 2010 World Cup, Nelson Mandela's 13-year-old daughter, Zenani, was killed by a drunken driver in a one-car accident, according to press reports. The driver probably faces vehicular homicide charges.

To mourn Zenani's loss, Nelson Mandela did not attend the opening ceremonies.


He is no stranger to family tragedy. In 1969, as he began to serve a life sentence for subversion, Mandela received a telegram informing him that his eldest son had died in a car crash. Prison authorities did not allow Mandela to attend the funeral.

Yet gaining his release and becoming the first president of post-apartheid South Africa did not insulate him from personal pain, either. In 2005, he announced that his last surviving son had died of AIDS-related medical problems.

Life gives no free pass, even for one of the most lauded citizens of the world.

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