The granddaughter of world-renowned activist, Nelson Mandela, has passed away after a years-long battle with cancer. Zoleka Mandela died at the age of 43, a spokesperson of the family confirmed the news early Tuesday morning.
“On Monday, September 18th, Zoleka Mandel was admitted into hospital for ongoing treatment for metastatic cancer to the hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain and spinal cord,” the statement said on her official Instagram account. “Recent scans revealed significant disease progression including fibrosis in the lungs as well as several emboli.”
The Nelson Mandela Foundation also made a statement about Zoleka’s death.
“The Nelson Mandela Foundation extends its heartfelt condolences to the Mandela family on the passing of Zoleka Mandela, tragically last night. We mourn the loss of a beloved grandchild of Mum Winnie and Madiba and a friend of the Foundation.”
The foundation referred to Zoleka as “a tireless activist for healthcare and justice.”
“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,” it continued.
The granddaughter of Mandela was first diagnosed with breast cancer at 32. After being in remission, the cancer resurfaced last year. She had been very transparent about her journey and documented it via her social media. She shared that she had been receiving treatment for metastatic cancer in her spinal cord, liver, hip, lung and ribs.
Throughout her life, Zoleka followed her grandfather’s footsteps by becoming an activist and advocate. She not only was an advocate for cancer-related issues, but she also was very passionate about road safety after losing her 13-year-old daughter in a car accident.
Zoleka was the granddaughter of Nelson’s second wife, Winnie Mandela.