Why Zoleka Mandela is our hero of the week

By Drum Digital
14 August 2016

Her can-do attitude is so infectious, we simply love it!

By Koketso Mashika

The many times Zoleka showed us why she is an inspiration:

1. She is currently celebrating 6 years of sobriety from 10 years of cocaine abuse and 17 of alcohol abuse. 

I took this picture in 2009, heavy into my addiction to cocaine and alcohol. This was what I looked like on a good day, I thought I looked cute but I looked like the very Hell I was causing my kids and my family. Weekends felt like one day, an entire weekend without showering or brushing my teeth. In rehab they teach you about how a lack of hygiene always accompanies drug addiction as well as 2 important life skills - hygiene and nutrition, I was overweight but I barely ate as much as I drank or snorted cocaine. I had a phuza face. Look how swollen my face is in this picture? Alcohol causes that puffiness, dehydrates the skin and body ... Not forgetting the effect 10yrs of cocaine use was doing, I used other drugs too but cocaine was my choice of drug. I'd sleep with make up on and if I had to go somewhere, I'd reapply it ... I felt so ugly on the inside though. Most of the time, I just wanted to die ... I was depressed and suicidal and the only things that made me feel better about myself was men, sex, alcohol and drugs! I didn't know it then but I know it now, getting help (rehabilitation) was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I never knew how to ask for help but I finally did it. Next month on the 11th of August, I will celebrate being 6yrs clean and sober! Sobriety saved my life ... #ZolekaMandelaFoundation #DangersOfDrugsAndAlcohol #DrugAndAlcoholAwareness #Sobriety #Addiction #NeverTooLateToRewriteYourLifeStory #NothingChangesUntilYouChange

A photo posted by Zoleka Mandela (@zolekamandela) on

2. She is a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time, and is still going strong! 

3. Currently going through Chemotherapy, she still makes time to educate others about cancer.

Took this picture of my hand right after my 4th Chemotherapy treatment last week! The skin on my hands and feet never quite recovered from 16 cycles of Chemotherapy back in 2013. This is a side effect of the treatment, it causes discoloration or darkening of the skin and veins especially in areas that are exposed to the sun - (something to do with toxicity, inflammation or stimulation of skin colour cells.) Never leave the house without a good sun screen and hand moisturizer because Chemotherapy can make the skin more sensitive to the sun and dry ... #KnowYourCancer #SilenceCancer #Chemotherapy #GemCisplatin #Recurrence #LuminalBCancer #LuminalTypeBMammaryCancer #BreastCancerSurvivor #ZolekaMandelaFoundation #ChemoSideEffects

A photo posted by Zoleka Mandela (@zolekamandela) on

4. She is not afraid to share pics of her warrior scars from her surgeries. 

5. She is also a sexual and physical abuse survivor, and shares about her journey.

7. Her book, ‘When Hope Whispers’ is one of Bridge Books’ top sellers. 

To God's love that is Sahm Venter, thank you so much for sending me this blessing earlier today! ?? Bridge Books is located downtown in Commissioner Street ... You guys, this is such a BIG deal to me! ? I remember writing this book in between my 16 cycles of Chemotherapy treatments over a period of 6 months back in 2013 and how there were so many times I thought the ONLY people who were going to read my book would be Mr. Bashala, my editor, publisher and the publishing team (@jacanamedia) involved. ? We've sold over 5000 copies. I'm back on Chemotherapy and have 12 cycles to do and 30 sessions of Radiation still to go ... This is personal reminder to SELF: there is absolutely no limit to how many times I can defy my own odds! ? To order your copy of my book, place your order with the Zoleka Mandela Foundation/@zolekamandelafoundation by calling +2760 846 5500 ... #WhenHopeWhispers #ZolekaMandelaFoundation #BridgeBooks #TopSellers #JacanaMedia #Autobiography #NeverTooLateToRewriteYourLifeStory A photo posted by Zoleka Mandela (@zolekamandela) on

8. She founded a social upliftment foundation, the Zoleka Mandela Foundation three years ago.

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