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‘Poor babies’: Prayers for Zoleka Mandela’s 4 kids after her death

Condolences have been pouring in for the Mandela family following the tragic passing of activist and author Zoleka Mandela. The news has left many social media users deeply concerned about her four beloved children.


Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of South Africa’s late former president Nelson Mandela and ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela, was not only known for her activism and writing but also for being a devoted mother of six. Her journey through motherhood was marked by heartache, resilience, and love.



Tragedy struck in 2010 when she lost her first child, Zenanii, in a car accident. Zenanii was just 13 years old at the time. A year later, Zoleka faced another devastating loss when her infant son, Zenawe, was born prematurely and did not survive.

Despite these heartbreaking losses, Zoleka continued to be a dedicated mother to her surviving children. She had a son named Zwelami (born in 2003) and two daughters, Zanyiwe (born in 2014) and Zenzile (born in 2019). In April 2022, she welcomed her youngest child, a baby girl named Zingce Zobuhle Mandela.


Zoleka’s life was marked by not only the loss of her children but also by a series of personal struggles and challenges. In her 2013 biography, “When Hope Whispers,” she courageously shared her experiences, including suffering sexual and physical abuse from the age of four into her teenage years, as well as her battles with cocaine and alcohol addiction.


Amidst these adversities, Zoleka faced and conquered breast cancer twice, with her first diagnosis occurring in 2012. However, in August the previous year, she revealed that cancer had spread to her lungs, liver, ribs, spinal cord, and hips.

The Mandela family announced in a statement that Zoleka was admitted to the hospital in the week preceding her passing for ongoing treatment for metastatic cancer that had affected her hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain, and spinal cord.

Recent scans indicated significant disease progression, including fibrosis in her lungs and several emboli. Zoleka Mandela passed away on the evening of Monday, September 25th, surrounded by loved ones, and the family expressed their deepest gratitude to the medical team who had cared for her.

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