Zoleka Mandela wins cancer battle

By Drum Digital
31 May 2013

All of Mzansi hurt with her when she lost two children – now we can cheer Zoleka Mandela’s cancer victory

SHE CALLS it the turning point in her life – a new chapter during which she hopes she can save lives. Zoleka Mandela has just found out she’s free of the disease that robbed her of her breasts and she intends to become an ambassador to help other women fight the illness.

Yet not long ago she wasn’t interested in saving even her own life. Diagnosed with stage two breast cancer at the age of 32, Zoleka plunged deep into despair.

“I didn’t want treatment. I wanted to die. I welcomed death,” she says.

Cancer was yet another blow for Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, who was battling to come to terms with a double tragedy that had the entire nation hurting for her – the death of two of her children.

First her 13-year-old daughter Zenani was killed in a car accident after attending the opening concert of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Not long afterwards Zoleka fell pregnant and she and her then boyfriend, former 7de Laan star Sekoati Tsubane, looked forward to welcoming a new baby to ease the heartache.

But tiny Zenawe was born three months early, weighing just 836 grams. He wasn’t strong enough to fight and passed away two days after his birth, almost a year to the day after his big sister was killed.

Read more in DRUM - 6 June 2013

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