Tributes pour in after Zoleka Mandela lost battle to cancer

Tributes have started pouring in for the When Hope Whispers author Zoleka Mandela who passed away on Tuesday.

In a statement confirming her death, the family said Zoleka, the granddaughter of former president Nelson Mandela, was admitted to the hospital to treat her metastatic cancer to the hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain, and spinal cord.

“Recent scans revealed significant disease progression including fibrosis in the lungs, as well as several emboli,” reads the statement.

Mandela is said to have passed away surrounded by friends and family members.

The Mandela family further extended gratitude to the medical team that took care of her.

In its reaction, the EFF said: “Mothers don’t fear death. Their greatest fear is leaving their children in this world, knowing no one will love them like they do.”

Social media platforms were also abuzz with tributes to Zoleka.

Idols SA judge Somizi Mhlongo posted: “What a great reunion it’s gonna be on the other side. With mama, gogo, mkhulu [mom, grandmother, grandfather] and daughter. It hits hard here on earth but it’s a different feeling on the other side.” 

A user on X, formerly known as Twitter, wrote: “If strength was a person, Zoleka Mandela would be the face. Ulwile mama, lala ngoxolo mfazi [you have fought a good fight, rest in peace]. Thank you for instilling hope in us.”

Another user wrote: “Zoleka Mandela really fought a good fight. Fought breast cancer three times, and last year cancer returned.

“She said she had cancer in her lungs, liver, ribs, spinal cord, and hips. Not forgetting the death of her two children. May she rest in peace.”

It is a bittersweet moment for the Mandela family as Zoleka passed away a day before the government honoured her grandmother, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Speaking at the renaming of William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive, Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi said the street symbolises the power struggles of the country.

“Madikizela Mandela was a shield and saviour to all of us. She led when leaders could not lead and was a symbol of bravery,” Lesufi said. 

“Naming the street after her does not mean we do not recognise the other heroes. If we had a choice, most streets would carry the names of women who fought for freedom.” 


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