The Life and Career of Zoleka Mandela

Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, was a South African writer, activist, and breast cancer survivor. She was known for her courage and openness in sharing her story of addiction, loss, and resilience.

Early Life and Activism

Zoleka Mandela was born in Soweto, South Africa, in 1980. Her parents were Zindzi Mandela and Zwelibanzi Hlongwane. Zoleka’s early life was marked by challenges, including sexual abuse and the imprisonment of her grandfather for his anti-apartheid activism.

Despite the hardships she faced, Zoleka became a passionate advocate for social justice. She spoke out about issues such as sexual violence, drug addiction, and HIV/AIDS. She also worked to promote the legacy of her grandfather, Nelson Mandela.


Zoleka Mandela was a prolific writer. She wrote articles and essays on a variety of topics, including her personal experiences, social issues, and the legacy of her grandfather. In 2013, she published her memoir, When Hope Whispers, in which she candidly shared her story of addiction, loss, and recovery.

Zoleka Mandela was also a dedicated activist. In 2013, she founded the Zoleka Mandela Foundation, which provides support to people affected by breast cancer, road traffic injuries, and other social issues. The foundation also works to promote awareness of these issues and to advocate for change.

Personal Life

Zoleka Mandela’s personal life was marked by both joy and tragedy. In 2004, she married Thierry Bashala, a Congolese business executive who resides in South Africa. Together, they had two children. In 2010, Zoleka’s daughter, Zenani, was killed in a car accident at the age of 13.

Zoleka was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy, and she went into remission in 2013. However, her cancer returned in 2022.

Zoleka Mandela died from cancer on 25 September 2023, at the age of 43.

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Recovery and Advocacy

Despite the challenges she faced, Zoleka Mandela remained resilient and committed to helping others. She spoke openly about her experiences with addiction, loss, and breast cancer in order to inspire others and to raise awareness of these issues. She also continued to work tirelessly through her foundation to make a difference in the lives of others.


Zoleka Mandela was an inspiration to many people around the world. She was a courageous and outspoken advocate for social justice, and she left behind a legacy of activism and advocacy.

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Alamu Tosin

The writer is Alamu Tosin. I have three strong passions in life — football, blogging and movies — in that order. I love spending time with friends talking about the important things in life and hate nothing more than ‘authority’ and hypocrisy. My personal believe in life is that once an individual sets his/her mind to achieve something, it is totally possible. And oh!, I am a strong Lannister, because I always pay my debt. For writing or fixing gigs, contact
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