Nelson Mandela's granddaughter Zoleka dies at 43

She was fighting cancer

Zoleka Mandela-dies-at-43-afp (File) Zoleka Mandela | AFP

After a long battle with cancer, Nelson Mandela's granddaughter Zoleka Mandela passed away at the age of 43. A statement released by her family said that she died on Monday evening.

"Zoleka passed away on the evening of Monday, September 25th, surrounded by friends and family,” read the statement, shared on her official Instagram account.

Zoleka was known for raising awareness about cancer prevention. Diagnosed with cancer at the age of 32, she had detailed her battle against the disease in public domains and through her autobiography. Her journey was shared and had touched many struggling with cancer as well.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation also issued a statement extending condolences to the Mandela family. The Foundation had termed her as a “tireless activist for healthcare and justice”.

“The Foundation extends its heartfelt condolences to the Mandela family on the passing of Zoleka Mandela, tragically last night," read its statement. “We mourn the loss of a beloved grandchild of Mum Winnie and Madiba and a friend of the Foundation,” it added.

“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 said.

On August she had posted on Instagram that "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 OK when it's not? I'm dying... I don't want to die.”

Last year it was confirmed that her cancer had spread to lungs and liver.

Zoleka had also spoken about her drug addiction and struggles with depression. In 2013, she documented her story in her autobiography When Hope Whispers.

She was the daughter of M.J Seakamela and Zindzi Mandela and the grandchild of Nelson Mandela and his second wife Winnie Mandela.

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