Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, died in September 2023 at the age of 43 after a long battle with cancer. She was a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and cancer prevention. Mandela was also a talented artist and poet.
Here are 10 interesting facts about Zoleka Mandela:
- Zoleka Mandela was born on 9 April 1980, and was the daughter of Zindzi Mandela and her first husband Zwelibanzi Hlongwane.
- Her mother’s family, the Mandelas, are direct descendants of King Madiba of the Thembu people and serve as chieftains of Mvezo, their ancestral chiefdom.
- Zoleka spoke 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.
- Mandela was treated for breast cancer in 2011, which returned in 2016. She used social media to describe the removed tumour and side effects of her chemotherapy treatment.
- Zoleka Mandela died from cancer on 25 September 2023, at the age of 43
- 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 has only done worthwhile things since her grandfather’s death, not while he was alive.
- She had given birth to six kids before her death
In 2007, Drum sat down with Mama Winnie, Zindzi, her granddaughter Zoleka and great-granddaughter Zenani. Sadly, they’re all now gone. They had this to say this as a celebration of Women’s Day that year.