Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s inaugural democratically elected president and global icon, has died of cancer, according to a family spokesperson. She was 43.
Recently, Mandela had garnered recognition for her candid accounts of her battle with cancer, offering a poignant insight into her treatment journey. She was equally forthright about her history of drug addiction, shedding light on issues many faces in silence.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation expressed deep reverence for her work, stating that she inspired cancer awareness and played a pivotal role in dismantling the stigma associated with the disease.
Mandela was a champion for cancer awareness, bravely shared her struggles with depression, and disclosed that she had endured childhood sexual abuse. Additionally, she proved at the forefront of the cause of improved road safety after a car accident claimed the life of her 13-year-old daughter in 2010. Tragically, she also lost a prematurely born son. Mandela leaves behind four children.
Hailing from the lineage of Nelson Mandela’s second wife, Winnie, Mandela penned her remarkable journey in her autobiography, ”When Hope Whispers.” Diagnosed with breast cancer at 32, she initially went into remission, only to face a recurrence of the illness. Last year, she revealed the disheartening news of cancer’s presence in her liver and lungs, subsequently spreading to other vital organs. Though she received outpatient care, Mandela checked into a hospital over a week ago.
In a poignant Instagram post from August 2022, she reflected, “What do I tell my children? How do I tell them that this time around I may not get to live my life as a survivor? How do I tell them everything will be OK when it’s not? I’m dying… I don’t want to die.”
During an interview with Kaya FM in April, Mandela shared, “I’m learning to be OK with my eventuality.” Her unvarnished revelations garnered her a substantial following on social media platforms, where heartfelt tributes continue to pour in.
“Utterly tragic loss of a human being in her grandfather’s footsteps. A decent, honest human being in a dishonest, hypocritical world,” lamented one individual on social media.
Another wrote on Instagram beneath the Mandela family’s announcement, “You were one of the bravest people I know, and you inspired many people on your life’s journey of hope.”