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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Tributes pour in for ‘tireless activist’ Zoleka Mandela

Zoleka was the granddaughter of struggle stalwarts Nelson and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Tributes have poured in for Zoleka Mandela, who died on Monday evening.

The Mandela family confirmed the passing on of Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of struggle stalwarts Nelson and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, in a statement on Tuesday morning. Zoleka died at the age of 43 surrounded by friends and family.

In a statement shared on Zoleka’s Instagram account on Tuesday morning, family spokesperson Zwelabo Mandela said Zoleka was admitted to hospital on 18 September for ongoing treatment of metastatic cancer to the hip, liver, lung, pelvis brain and spinal cord. He added recent scans revealed significant disease progression including fibrosis in her lungs as well as several emboli.

“Zoleka passed away on the evening of 25 September, surrounded by friends and family. Our sincerest gratitude to the medical team that took care of her,” Zwelabo said in the statement.

ALSO READ: Zoleka Mandela: Madiba’s granddaugter loses brave battle against cancer

Tributes pour in for Zoleka Mandela

On Tuesday morning, The Nelson Mandela Foundation released a statement paying tribute to the mother of six.

“We mourn the loss of a beloved grandchild of Mum Winnie and Madiba and a friend of the Foundation. When her inspiring memoir When Hope Whispers was published, she graciously signed copies for all our staff and ran a leadership session for the staff about the book.”

“Zoleka was a tireless activist for healthcare and justice. Her work in raising awareness on cancer prevention and her unwavering commitment to breaking down the stigma surrounding the disease will continue to inspire us all.”

ActionSA also released a statement paying tribute to Zoleka.

“ActionSA sends its deepest condolences to the Mandela and Seakamela families for the loss of their daughter, Zoleka Mandela. Zoleka had a fighter’s spirit and a gentle soul like her grandmother, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. May her soul rest in peace,” ActionSA National Spokesperson, Lerato Ngobeni said on Tuesday morning.

The EFF hailed Zoleka as “an unwavering champion for cancer awareness and prevention, dedicating herself tirelessly to enhancing the well-being of those impacted by this relentless disease, through her organisation, the Zoleka Mandela Foundation”.

Mandela’s death is a reminder of the need to invest in fighting cancer in our health system. Cancer is significant cause of death in South Africa, and many people do not have access to the treatment and support they need. There is a need for more to invest in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment”.

“Gone too soon Zoleka Mandela joining her peerless grandmother Winnie Madikizela Mandela and mother Zinzi Mandela. She fought very hard and made a huge difference in people’s lives. Hearfelt condolences to the children, broader family, colleagues and friends,” tweeted former Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela hours after the news of Zoleka’s death.

“We are saddened by the passing of Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela Mandela. She has fought and brought hope to many of us. We are sending God’s Love and Strength to the Mandela Family. May she Rest In Peace,” Gospel band, Joyous Celebration tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Metro FM DJ Tbo Touch also took to X, formerly Twitter, to share a special tribute to Zoleka. “Tell Mama, I’m driving on Winnie Madikizela Mandela Drive. Rest in eternal peace #ZolekeMandela.”

Zoleka passed away the evening before Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda  was set to officially rename William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive.

NOW READ: Road closures to avoid when William Nicol is renamed on Tuesday

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