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Poleni! Nelson Mandela’s kin Zoleka passes on

By Elizabeth Ngigi September 26th, 2023 2 min read

Renowned South African activist and author Zoleka Mandela has passed away aged 43, her family confirmed.

Zoleka had been battling metastatic cancer, affecting her hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain, and spinal cord.

Her family released a statement confirming her passing on September 25,  2023, and provided details of her health struggles.

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The statement reads: “On Monday, September 18th, Zoleka Mandela was admitted to the hospital for continued treatment of metastatic cancer affecting her hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain, and spinal cord. Recent scans indicated significant disease progression, including fibrosis in the lungs and multiple emboli. Zoleka peacefully passed away in the company of friends and family on the evening of Monday, September 25th. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated medical team that cared for her.”

Zoleka was the granddaughter of the late former president Nelson Mandela and his late wife, Winnie Madikezela-Mandela.

She had written about her addictions, her daughter’s death, and her own battles with breast cancer.

Zoleka has spoken about sexual abuse in her childhood. She was also addicted to drugs and alcohol for a time.

In 2010, Zoleka Mandela’s 13-year-old daughter, Zenani, was killed in a car crash on the way home from a concert

The accident was said to be due to drugs and, at the time, Zoleka Mandela was recovering from a suicide attempt.

Mandela published her autobiography in 2013.

In 2016, she was chosen as one of the BBC’s “100 Women”.

She noted that her big regret was that she felt that she had only done worthwhile things since her grandfather’s death, not while he was alive.

Her death comes one week after she updated her fans that she was diagnosed with lung fibrosis.

“On September 17, 2023, I underwent a CT scan a few weeks ago, which revealed the presence of blood clots and fibrosis in my lung. These findings provided an explanation for the chest pains I had been experiencing.

My Medical Oncologist has recommended treatment with blood thinners and oral chemotherapy. On the bright side, I am incredibly grateful that my condition is still treatable!

I’m heading to bed now… Good night… Good morning, dear hearts! Love, the Oros Lady (I feel like my face just keeps getting rounder and puffier by the day!) Peace. Passion. Positivity.”