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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela 80th Birthday Celebrations in South Africa

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Zoleka Mandela passed away of cancer Monday evening at the age of 43. The granddaughter of South Africa’s first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela, was surrounded by friends and family in her final moments.

Zoleka Mandela is seen as an inspiration for detailing her cancer treatment and her history of drug addiction. She has raised “awareness about cancer prevention” as well as “breaking down the stigma surrounding the disease”.

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Zoleka was the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela’s second wife, Winnie and was only 10 when her grandfather was released from prison in 1990 after 27 years in detention. Nelson Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95. Through Mr Mandela’s legacy Zoleka stood up for the betterment of her community. After her 13-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident in 2010 she campaigned for better road safety. She later lost a son who was born prematurely. She is survived by four children who she loved very much!

Zoleka was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. She was in remission after receiving treatment but the illness later returned. In 2022 she confirmed that she had cancer in her liver and lungs, it then spread to other organs.

“What do I tell my children? How do I tell them that this time around I may not get to live my life as a survivor? How do I tell them everything will be OK when it’s not? I’m dying… I don’t want to die,” she posted on Instagram in August 2022.

In an interview with Kaya FM in April, Ms Mandela said: “I’m learning to be okay with my eventuality.” In her autobiography ‘When Hope Whispers’, she documents her emotionally inspirational story. Rest In Heaven Zoleka Mandela!