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‘She fought so much’: Tributes following Zoleka Mandela’s death

After surviving breast cancer twice, Zoleka Mandela was diagnosed with cancer in her lungs, liver, ribs, spinal cord, brain and hips.

South Africans are paying tribute to cancer warrior Zoleka Mandela who passed away on Monday, 25 September, at the age of 43.

The author and activist, who is the granddaughter of late South African former president, Nelson Mandela, and ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela – revealed in August last year that she had been diagnosed with cancer in her lungs, liver, ribs, spinal cord and hips.

She was previously diagnosed with and beat breast cancer twice.



In a statement on Tuesday, the Mandela family announced the sad passing of Zoleka.

“On monday, September 18th. Zoleka Mandela 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,” read the statement.

She leaves behind her four children; three daughters and one son.



Netizens, who admire Zoleka’s resilient, are paying tribute.

Not only did she beat breast cancer twice, in her 2013 biography, When Hope Whispers, Zoleka opens up about her drug addiction and being sexually and physically abused as a 4-year-old up until her teens. She also lost her eldest daughter, Zenani, in a car accident in 2010. A year later she lost another child, her infant son, Zenawe, who was born three months prematurely.



“Zoleka Mandela fought so much. She instilled hope in most of us & taught us not to ever give up even if the end is near. What an inspiration she was. I will definitely remember her resilience and gratitude. May her soul rest in peace. Condolences to the friends and families,” wrote @innomatijane on X (formerly Twitter).

“Zoleka Mandela’s story was so gruesome. She was in constant battle for most of her life. Fighting an addiction, losing her daughter to a drunk driver, fighting cancer, only for the cancer to come back. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” @somuhleomuhle said.

@Leratomabuza wrote: “Rest In Peace Zoleka Mandela 💔🙏You really fought my love. God knows you gave it your all to be alive. You Lived, Cared & Loved. Your children lost a loving compassionate Mom, but they gained a Guardian Angel.”

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