Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, has passed away at the age of 43 after battling cancer, as announced by her family.
In an Instagram statement, a spokesperson shared the news that Zoleka had peacefully passed away on Monday evening, surrounded by her loved ones.
Zoleka had gained recognition in recent years for her candid discussions about her cancer treatment, her struggles with drug addiction and depression, as well as her traumatic experience of childhood sexual abuse.
She was also an advocate for improved road safety, driven by the tragic loss of her 13-year-old daughter in a car accident in 2010. Her journey and advocacy were chronicled in her autobiography, titled “When Hope Whispers.”
More than a decade ago, Zoleka had been diagnosed with breast cancer, successfully undergoing treatment and achieving remission. However, the cancer later resurfaced. Last year, she revealed that the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs, eventually affecting other organs. While she initially received outpatient treatment, she was admitted to the hospital just over a week before her passing.
In a post on Instagram dated September 17, Zoleka shared, “I had a CT scan administered a few weeks back, which has shown that I have blood clots as well as Fibrosis in my lung. This explains the chest pains I had been feeling. My medical oncologist has recommended blood thinners and oral chemo. On the upside, I’m incredibly grateful that I am still treatable.”