Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s inaugural democratically elected President, has died of cancer at the age of 43.
A spokesperson for the Mandela family confirmed that she passed away on Monday evening surrounded by friends and family.
Ms Mandela was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. She received treatment and was in remission, however, the illness later returned. Last year, she confirmed that she had cancer in her liver and lungs, which later metastasized to various other parts of her body. While she was initially receiving treatment as an outpatient, she was hospitalized a little more than a week ago.
Ms Mandela was known for her advocacy work as a Child Health Initiative Global Ambassador, and in recent years, has become well known for detailing her cancer treatment. Her candid discussion surrounding cancer screening, treatment, and recovery raised awareness for cancer prevention and helped to break down the harmful stigmas surrounding the illness and the people it impacts.
A two-time breast cancer survivor and a mother who lost her teenage daughter to road traffic injury Ms. Mendela has always been dedicated to telling her story. Zoleka Mandela campaigned for a global adolescent summit. The summit would aim to increase funding and political commitment to combat the major health burdens on young people, including road traffic injury. She issued the international community with an urgent call to action on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), air pollution, and road traffic injury.
Zoleka Mandela is survived by her four children.