Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
2 minute read
21 Jan 2022
2:11 pm

Zoleka Mandela on dealing with grief 11 years after her daughter’s death

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Zoleka Mandela's daughter Zenani, 13, was killed by a drunk driver in 2010.

Zoleka Mandela. Picture: Instagram

Mother of six and granddaughter to the Mandela family Zoleka Mandela has shared how she’s dealing with the loss of her daughter 11 years later.

The writer and activist usually posts lengthy motivational messages to her Instagram followers on a regular basis.

Zoleka is also open about sharing her struggles with mental health, and being a mother of six children.

She recalled a visit to her therapist months before, who asked her what she was grateful for. Zoleka said there were over “40 things” she was grateful for and the list is endless.

“I’m grateful for the frequent blessings – both big and small. When my daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 2010, my former psychiatrist advised that I read Habakkuk for answers I was asking… I was triggered, frustrated over the years because there were no answers to my questions until today.”

She wrote that she looked at a set of Habakkuk cards this week, at times searching for daily motivation.

The card read: “The Lord makes my feet feel like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”

Zoleka said she did more research and found the metaphoric language described the blessings the presence of God brings to a situation.

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“When we run with hinds’ feet on high places, treading ‘on the heights’ we live above our circumstances. God gives us the grace, courage, and inner strength we need to press on to attain new heights and experience new vistas,” she wrote.

She says to get through the pain she had to continue to pray and believe in God, “and stay grateful that I can face my entire existence (no matter what life continues to throw at me), boldly in whatever He wants for me, in whatever He has called me to do.”

Zoleka’s 13-year-old daughter, Zenani was killed in a car crash on the way home from a concert.


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