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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Zoleka Mandela: Madiba’s granddaughter loses brave battle against cancer

Zoleka Mandela passed away on Monday evening surrounded by friends and family.

The Mandela family has confirmed the passing of Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of struggle stalwarts Nelson and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, at the age of 43.

The author and activist passed away on Monday evening surrounded by friends and family.

Today would also have been the birthday of her grandmother Winnie Madikizela Mandela.

Zoleka Mandela: Cancer battle

Family spokesperson Zwelabo Mandela said Zoleka was admitted into hospital for ongoing treatment.

“She was admitted for metastatic cancer to the hip, liver, liver, lung, pelvis brain and spinal cord. Recent scans revealed signifcant disease progression including fibrosis in the 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.

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


Zoleka Mandela was admitted to hospital in May after she was diagnosed with stage three liver and lung cancer last year.

The author was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time in 2012, and again in 2016 after surviving the first time.

She documented her 10-year breast cancer journey in an autobiography, When Hope Whispers, and known as a cancer survivor, took to Instagram announcing the doctors’ reports after her oncologist performed a CAT scan

The mother of six usually shared regular health updates on her Instagram page.

Planning for her funeral

During her interview on eNCA in May, Zoleka revealed that she is already planning her funeral. Zoleka said she feels like she is running out of time and wants to live her best life and capture stories in her own way.

“I have got plans for my kids, I have got plans for my funeral. I have got plans about what’s going to happen to me leading to my passing and what happens after. And what kind of legacy I would want for my children,” Zoleka said.

William Nicol to be renamed

Meanwhile, the Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) has urged motorists to consider alternate routes on Tuesday morning due to road closures and lane reductions at the William Nicol and Sandton Drive intersection.

This comes after Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda is set to officially rename William Nicol Drive to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive.

The JRA said road users can expect closures and delays between 09:30 and 12:00.

ALSO READ: Zoleka Mandela admitted to hospital