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Faith Nyasuguta 

Zoleka Mandela, author and the granddaughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, has sadly passed away at the age of 43 after a long battle with cancer.

Last year, she revealed her struggle with the disease, specifically in her liver and lungs.

Her family confirmed her death in a statement posted on her Instagram account.

The statement 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 surrounded by friends and family. Our sincerest gratitude to the medical team that took care of her.’

The activist was admitted to hospital on September 18, where she received ongoing treatment for metastatic cancer affecting various parts of her body, including her hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain and spinal cord.

A day before hospitalisation, Zoleka posted an update on Instagram with the caption, ‘I had a CT Scan administered a few weeks back, which has shown that I have blood clots as well as Fibrosis in my lung. This explains the chest pains I had been feeling. My Medical Oncologist has recommended blood thinners and Oral Chemo.’

Zoleka, renowned for her book ‘When Hope Whispers’, which chronicled her decade-long journey with breast cancer, shared the news of her medical condition after her oncologist conducted a CAT scan.

‘The CAT scan has revealed cancer both in my liver and lungs. I am yet to receive feedback regarding my bone scan, to establish whether I have cancer beyond my ribs. I am hanging on by a thread. Thanking you all for your outpouring of love, prayer and support. Peace. Passion. Positivity,’ she shared in a post.

In early August, Zoleka garnered significant attention when she learned that her fight against the illness was far from over.

She shared, ‘From what she’s told me, cancer in the bones cannot be eradicated, nor can it be cured. I have bone metastasis.

‘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.’


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Faith Nyasuguta

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