Heartbreak intruded on the opening day of the soccer World Cup whenÂ Nelson Mandelaâ€™s 13-year-old great granddaughter Zenani was killed in an auto accident here early on Friday. In response, Mr. Mandela canceled a much-heralded appearance at a tournament depicted as a triumphant showcase for his country and his continent.
The teenager was returning home from the eventâ€™s Thursday night kickoff concert in Soweto, an extravaganza that included stars likeÂ Alicia Keys and Shakira and was meant to launch the contest on a joyous note. At its conclusion, the sky lit up with fireworks as happy attendees made way to their parked vehicles.
According to police, Zenani Mandela died in a one-car accident on a Johannesburg highway. The man behind the wheel, who has yet to be named, was accused of drunk driving and may also be charged with culpable homicide, the police said.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation issued aÂ statement saying the former president would now be unable to attend the opening ceremonies of the tournament.