Nelson Mandela will not attend today’s World Cup opening ceremony after the death of his great granddaughter in a car crash.
Zenani Mandela, who had only just turned 13, was killed on the way back from the pre-tournament concert in Johannesburg, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The Foundation asked that the Mandela family’s privacy be respected:
“We are pleading with all South Africans and the world to actually just give the family the benefit of just grieving their loss,” said a spokesman.
Zenani was one of Mandela’s nine great grandchildren.
The fatal crash involved just one car and no-one else was injured. Police say the driver was drunk and has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by negligence.
The Foundation said that after learning of his relative’s death, Nelson Mandela thought it would be “inappropriate” to personally attend the World Cup opening celebrations.