South African author and activist Zoleka Mandela lost her courageous long battle with cancer on Monday, September 25, at the age of 43.
The family spokesperson Zwelabo Mandela confirmed the devastating news of her passing in a statement that was shared on Zoleka’s social media pages.
“On Monday, September 18, Zoleka Mandela was admitted to the hospital for ongoing treatment for metastatic cancer to the hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain and spinal cord,” read the statement
“Recent scans revealed significant disease progression including fibrosis in the lungs...
“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.”
Zoleka’s life will be celebrated at a memorial service, which is scheduled for, Thursday, September 28, at the Mandela home, with the family making it available for streaming to the public.
A private funeral is planned for Friday, September 29, at the Bryanston Methodist Church, Sandton.
Zoleka's struggle with cancer was a long and challenging one. She first battled breast cancer in 2011, which led to the surgical removal of both her breasts in March 2012.
Unfortunately, her cancer returned in 2016. Then, in August 2022, she announced the return of her cancer, which had metastasised to various parts of her body, including her bones, lungs, liver, ribs, spinal cord, and hips.
“I’ve had a sore back for more than a month now, and recently consulted with my GP when I could no longer tolerate the excruciating pain in my left rib.
“I went for an x-ray of my chest and rib a few days ago - I have a pathological fracture and swelling caused by cancer,” shared Zoleka on her Instagram, at the time.
“My Medical Oncologist has scheduled me for a CT scan and bone scan, to determine whether I have cancer in the remaining parts of my body. From what she’s told me, cancer in the bones cannot be eradicated nor can it be cured. I have Bone Metastasis.
“I’ve just had my CT scan and awaiting my results, I don’t even have the words to articulate my thoughts and feelings, the words to describe how scared I am right now. 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 okay when it’s not? I’m dying … I don’t want to die,” she revealed.
Despite her struggles, she remained resilient and continued to share her experiences, which undoubtedly inspired many others facing similar hardships.
Zoleka’s courage and resilient spirit will continue to inspire and make a positive impact on the lives of many.