In tragic news, Zoleka Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, passed away on Monday from cancer.
According to People, her family confirmed the sad news on Instagram through a statement from their spokesperson, Zwelabo Mandela.
“On Monday, September 18th, Zoleka Mandel was admitted into hospital for ongoing treatment for metastatic cancer to the hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain and spinal cord. Recent scans revealed significant disease progression including fibrosis in the lungs as well as several emboli… Zoleka passed away on the evening of Monday, September 25th surrounded by friends and family. Our sincerest gratitude to the medical team that took care of her.”
The World Will Miss Zoleka Mandela
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The Nelson Mandela Foundation released another statement after the news, describing Zoleka Mandela as a activist who gave her all for justice and healthcare.
“The Nelson Mandela Foundation 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… 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. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this most difficult time. Hamba kahle Zoleka, we will remember you.”
Zoleka received a breast cancer diagnosis at 32, and the cancer was in remission.
However, it resurged last year, and treatment didn’t work, unfortunately.
Zoleka created the #TerminallyFree hashtag and launched a series to encourage followers to fight for continuance, even when faced with terminal cancer.
Zoleka was also an outspoken advocate for issues like road safety–after a 2010 car accident took her 13-year-old daughter’s life.
The activist also didn’t hide her struggles with depression and her painful child sexual abuse history.
Zoleka was 10 when Nelson Mandela was released after his 27-year detention.
That everyone in this picture has now passed is such a gut wrenching tragedy. 🕊️ 💔
— Kgopolo (@PhilMphela) September 26, 2023
— Mzilikazi wa Afrika (@IamMzilikazi) September 26, 2023
Her resilience though ❣️indeed she fought till the end for her babies…ohhh Zo 💔
— Matshidiso Milly Makhura (@MrsVanDerFats) September 26, 2023
Tragic! So young…😥
Loss of a child is the worst thing anyone can suffer! It never leaves you & many times it breaks you😥
— AK2020 (@AK_20_20_) September 26, 2023