Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images.
Granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, Zoleka Mandela, Succumbs to Cancer at 43
Zoleka Mandela was widely known for advocating for road safety and proactive healthcare and for publicizing the details of her journey throughout cancer treatment.
Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of South Africa's iconic first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela, has tragically passed away at the age of 43, succumbing to a battle with cancer. A spokesperson confirmed that she breathed her last on Monday evening, surrounded by loved ones.
In recent years, Ms. Mandela has become widely recognized for her candid documentation of her cancer treatment journey. She had also been remarkably open about her history of drug addiction. The Nelson Mandela Foundation praised her as an inspirational figure, highlighting her role in raising awareness about cancer prevention and dismantling the stigma associated with the disease.
Ms. Mandela had been vocal about her struggles with depression and her experience of childhood sexual abuse. She shared her personal challenges with her followers on social media, offering a candid glimpse into her life.
A statement shared on her official Instagram account confirmed her passing, stating, "Zoleka passed away on the evening of Monday, September 25th, surrounded by friends and family." Ms. Mandela had documented her cancer fight on the same account, sharing her fears and hopes.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation expressed its condolences, acknowledging Zoleka Mandela as "a tireless activist for healthcare and justice." Her enduring commitment to increasing awareness of cancer prevention and challenging the associated stigma was commended.
Her advocacy work extended to road safety campaigns following the tragic death of her 13-year-old daughter, Zenani, in a car accident in 2010.
Zoleka Mandela was the daughter of Zindzi Mandela, a daughter of Nelson Mandela. She leaves behind a legacy of resilience and a strong commitment to making a positive impact on the world.
The family spokesperson revealed that Ms. Mandela had been admitted to the hospital a week prior to her passing, with advanced liver cancer that had metastasized to various parts of her body, including her hip, liver, lung, brain, pelvis, and spinal cord.
Zoleka Mandela's courageous journey in facing cancer began with a diagnosis of liver cancer last year. She had previously battled breast cancer at the age of 32, which had led her to undergo a double mastectomy.
Throughout her struggle, she consistently used her social media platforms to urge women to prioritize their health and undergo regular cancer screenings. In 2016, she emphasized the importance of speaking out and taking proactive measures against cancer, declaring, "Silence cancer before it silences you."
Zoleka Mandela was not only an advocate but also a mother of six and a grandmother of two. Her life's trajectory had seen her grapple with personal challenges, including drug and alcohol addiction. In her memoir, "When Hope Whispers," she shared her battles with addiction and revealed that she was in recovery from a suicide attempt when she received the devastating news of her daughter's car crash.
Despite her struggles, she expressed a profound regret that her activism had only fully ignited after her grandfather's passing in 2013, vowing to honor his legacy by championing worthy causes. She said, "I just hope where he is with my daughter, he is looking down and thinking, 'She has gotten it right finally.'"
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