Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter dies at 43


She had cancers of the hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain and spinal cord.

September 26, 2023, 6:53 AM

LONDON — Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, Zoleka Mandela, has died at the age of 43.

“The Nelson Mandela Foundation extends its heartfelt condolences to the Mandela family on the passing of Zoleka Mandela, tragically last night,” the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement released on Tuesday morning. “We mourn the loss of a beloved grandchild of Mum Winnie and Madiba and a friend of the Foundation.”

Zoleka Mandela — born April 9, 1983 — was an outspoken writer and activist for healthcare and justice throughout her life. Born to father MJ Seakamela and mother Zindzi Mandela, Zoleka Mandela was the grandchild of Nelson Mandela and his second wife, Winnie Mandela.

“Her work in raising awareness about cancer prevention and her unwavering commitment to breaking down the stigma surrounding the disease will continue to inspire us all,” the Nelson Mandela Foundation said.

Zoleka Mandela, the mother of Zenani Mandela, speaks during the launch of the Zenani Mandela Scholarship for road safety, which will contribute to the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 campaign, in central London, on April 12, 2011. South African anti-apartheid struggle hero Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, Zoleka Mandela, died of cancer aged 43, her family said on Tuesday. Known for having detailed her long battle against the disease, the author was admitted into hospital on Monday as part of her ongoing treatment, a family spokesman said.

Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

A statement posted to Zoleka Mandela’s Instagram account detailed her ongoing recent struggles with cancer.

“On Monday, September 18th, Zoleka Mandela was admitted into hospital for ongoing treatment for metastatic cancer to the hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain and spinal cord,” the statement attributed to family spokesperson Zwelabo Mandela read. “Recent scans revealed significant disease progression including fibrosis in the lungs as well as several emboli.”

“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,” the message read.

Mandela was 43.

Said the Nelson Mandela Foundation: “Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this most difficult time. Hamba kahle Zoleka, we will remember you.”

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