Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Thursday, 28 September 2023 15:35

A shining star Zoleka Mandela's life honoured at the memorial service.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The life of author and cancer activist Zoleka Mandela was honoured in a memorial service held at the Mandela family home on Thursday.

Mandela died earlier this week after a long battle with cancer that had metastasised to her lungs, spine and other organs.

As per the late 43-year-old's wishes, her burial on Friday will be private at Bryanston Methodist Church and takes place at 9am.

On Monday, Mandela's family released a statement via her Instagram account, letting fans know that she had succumbed to her illness after battling cancer for several years.

She was admitted to hospital on September 18 to receive treatment for metastatic cancer which had spread to her hip, liver, brain and spinal cord.

In her final instagram post, she said she had a CT Scan administered a few weeks back, which showed that she may have had blood clots as well as fibrosis in her lung.

"My medical oncologist has recommended blood thinners and oral chemo," Mandela continued.

Always one to look at the glass half full, the granddaughter of the late Nelson and Winnie Mandela added, "On the upside, I'm incredibly grateful that I am still treatable!

Mandela was first diagnosed with cancer in 2012, at the age of 32, and again in 2016.

All the while doing advocacy work to raise awareness around cancer and substance abuse - including writing her book 'When Hope Whispers' aimed at inspiring people who had been through tough times.

Her friend, Janine Wool, described her as a strong fighter.

"She never stopped fighting; her persistence was so amazing. She was such an easy person who could be friends with anyone, and she never saw any bad in a person, only the good. The two of us just clicked from day one. We always laugh together at the most impossible times."

Another friend, Thatohatsi Motsaone, said she was a shy person who kept most of her struggles private.

"She was extremely shy and very private. Some of the stuff we see on social media are the things she was happy to share. But a lot of her struggles, the fights, she kept private. She was like an ice bag; people only saw the tip of it."

Former minister Lindiwe Sisulu described Zoleka as simply a beautiful person.

"Zokela is a shining star in the way that she went through all that pain, knowing very well that she's got young children that she's got to leave behind. She was her own person, very strong, and it shows in the way she carried the disease in the end. She is almost a combination of both her grandmother and grandfather in one."

"Traditionally speaking Zoleka is my niece, and I was asked to come forward today by her cousins," she added. "I understand why they asked me; I live with cancer myself and perhaps they thought I would be able to carry the message. Zoleka was a survivor and her story serves as a testimony of a human spirit fighting against life's challenges."

Mandela leaves behind four children, Zenani, Zenawe, Zenani, and Zwelami. Two of her other children passed away. Her 13-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident in 2010 and she later lost a son who was born prematurely. 

Watch Live in the video below:

Video Courtesy of LiveStreamMedia.