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Zoleka Mandela, Granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, Dies at 43



Zoleka Mandela. Child Health Initiative photo

Special to The Post

Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of the South African martyr and its first democratically elected president, died on Sept. 25 after an 11-year battle with cancer. She was 43.

Mandela spent her last years raising awareness about cancer prevention, providing details about her treatment for the disease that had begun with a diagnosis of breast cancer when she was 32.

She was treated and she was in remission until the cancer came back, spreading to her liver, spine, lungs, and brain.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation issued a statement Tuesday, news reports say, saying it “extends its heartfelt condolences to the Mandela family on the passing of Zoleka Mandela, tragically last night.”

“We mourn the loss of a beloved grandchild of Mum Winnie and Madiba and a friend of the Foundation.”

The foundation described her as “a tireless activist for Healthcare and justice.”

“Her work in raising awareness about cancer prevention and her unwavering commitment to breaking down the stigma surrounding the disease will continue to inspire us all,” it said.

Treated as an outpatient until being admitted to the hospital last week, Mandela had gained a following on social media for her candidness about the progress in her disease as well as some of the issues of her past, including depression, drug and alcohol addiction and being molested as a girl.

In addition to crusading for cancer awareness and fighting the stigma of the disease, Mandela had campaigned for road safety when her daughter was killed in a car accident in 2010.

“What do I tell my children?” Mandela posted on Instagram in August 2022. “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.”

In April, Mandela told a radio host on Kaya FM “I’m learning to be okay with my eventuality.”

Zoleka was 10 years old when Nelson Mandela was released from Robben Island in 1990 where he had been imprisoned in South Africa for 27 years. President Mandela died in 2013.

Zoleka Mandela was named one of the BBC’s 100 Women of the Year in 2016.

She was preceded in death by her daughter Zenani, and her son Zenawe who was born prematurely. She is survived by four other children.

BET, BBC and News 24 were sources for this report.

The post Zoleka Mandela, Granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, Dies at 43 first appeared on Post News Group. This article originally appeared in Post News Group.


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