Author and activist Zoleka Mandela dies after brave battle against cancer

Zoleka Mandela

Zoleka Mandela

Published Sep 26, 2023


Zoleka Mandela has passed away after her long battle with cancer.

Mandela is well-known as the granddaughter to South Africa’s most loved anti-apartheid icons Nelson and Winnie Mandela.

In a short statement on Tuesday, family spokesperson Zwelabo Mandela, said Mandela was admitted to hospital for ongoing treatment for metastatic cancer to the hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain and spinal cord.

"Zoleka passed away on the evening of Monday, September 25, surrounded by friends and family. Our sincerest gratitude to the medical team that took care of her," he said.

Zwelabo added that recent scans revealed significant disease progression including fibrosis in the lungs as well as several embroil.

On September 17, Zoleka took to Instagram to share that she had a CT scan administered which revealed blood clots and fibrosis on her lungs.

"This explains the chest pains I had been feeling. My medical oncologist has recommended blood thinners and oral chemo," Zoleka posted.

Zoleka at the time remained positive and upbeat.

In 2012, the author and activist was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the years that followed, she received two additional cancer diagnoses, and in 2022 she shared with her followers that cancer had returned and had spread to her bones.

Through her Instagram series, "Dear Diary, #TerminallyFree," Zoleka has given voice to the cancer community, sharing the ups and downs of her journey with brutal honesty.

She has used her platform to educate and raise awareness, inspiring all those who have suffered the cruelties of the disease.

— SizaM (@MissSizakeleM) September 26, 2023