A Twitter account believed to be that of Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane, the daughter of former president Nelson Mandela and struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, inspired outrage as well as debate on Friday.
The account in the name of Zindzi – who is South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark – divided Twitter with a series of tweets that began with: “Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally #TheLandIsOurs“.
The tweet led to criticism from some white South Africans on Twitter. This led to a series of increasingly strongly-worded tweets, using the hashtag #OurLand, which have inspired growing outrage.
These included a tweet about “trembling white cowards” who are the “thieving rapist descendants of Van Riebeck [sic]” and one saying that Zindzi was “wondering how the world of shivering land thieves is doing” while out “wining and dining” at a restaurant.
Some questioned whether her tweets were appropriate coming from an an ambassador.
Others expressed the view that the opinions expressed were at odds with Nelson Mandela’s legacy of reconciliation.
Some pointed out that there is a possibility that the tweets were not actually sent by Mandela-Hlongwane. The account is not verified and attempts by The Citizen to contact Mandela-Hlongwane to establish if these are indeed her tweets have been unsuccessful so far, with the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Clayson Monyela saying they also had been unable to reach her.
Not everyone disagreed with the tweets, however, as they earned her a significant amount of support, leading to angry debate between those those who agreed with her and those who took exception to her words on the platform.
The hashtag #OurLand was trending on Twitter at the time of publication of this article.
Zindzi – if it is indeed her account – is becoming increasingly known for her outspoken Twitter presence.
On Thursday, she responded to a tweet in which a user offered her the “advice” that she should stop “flirting with the EFF” – possibly a response to pictures shared by Dali Mpofu showing her wearing an EFF hat – by responding that she loves and respects EFF leader Julius Malema, adding that both Nelson and Winnie Mandela did too.
“I don’t flirt with [the EFF]. I have deep, pure unconditional love and respect for [Julius Malema] and that won’t stop. Mandela Legacy? Are you talking about both my parents who loved and respected CIC [commander-in-chief]?” she said.
UPDATE: This article was updated to reflect that Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane has not yet been reached and that whether or not it is her actual Twitter account has not been confirmed. 9:33, June 18.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)