A memorial service is being held at the Mandela family home to honour the life and legacy of Zoleka Mandela, an esteemed author and activist who passed away earlier this week. Mandela, aged 43, fought a courageous battle against cancer, which ultimately progressed to fibrosis in the lungs and several emboli.
In a statement issued by the family, it was confirmed that Zoleka Mandela passed away on the evening of Monday, September 25, surrounded by loved ones. The family expressed sincere gratitude to the medical team that provided care and support throughout her illness.
Zoleka Mandela had been open about her health journey, sharing her experiences and raising awareness about cancer. In August 2022, she revealed that the disease had returned after being diagnosed with bone metastasis. Prior to this, she had already triumphed over breast cancer twice.
In a poignant reflection, Mandela expressed her feelings of uncertainty and the challenge of conveying the news to her children. “What do I tell my children? How do I tell them that this time around, I may not get to live my life as a survivor? How do I tell them everything will be okay when it’s not? I’m dying… I don’t want to die,” she shared in the wake of her diagnosis.
Despite grappling with the reality of her condition, Mandela demonstrated remarkable strength and resilience. In an interview with Kaya 959 in April, she discussed her preparations for the eventuality of her passing. She found empowerment in having a say in the plans for her children’s future, stating, “I think that’s empowering me too because, again, I’ve been put in a place where I’m actually able to have a say in the things that I want to happen, especially with all my children.”
On Friday, Mandela’s family will bid her a final farewell in a private service at the Bryanston Methodist Church, paying tribute to her extraordinary life and the impact she made as an author and activist.
Zoleka Mandela’s legacy will continue to inspire others as her loved ones, friends, and admirers gather to celebrate her life, mourn her loss, and reflect on her enduring contributions to literature and advocacy.