Zoleka Mandela remembers son on what would have been his ninth birthday

Zoleka Mandela
Zoleka Mandela
Photo: Gallo

Zoleka Mandela's infant son died within days of his birth in 2011, due to complications associated with being born prematurely.

Sharing a tribute to her son on what would have been his ninth birthday, Zoleka wrote on Instagram: "Happy 9th birthday, to my baby in Heaven. Isotja sami. [sic]"

Along with the message, she posted a photo of her son Zenawe's hand, taken when he was born. In the photo, she rests the tip of her finger on his hand, showing how tiny is hand is. 

She used the hashtag "My solder with wings."

Zenawe's death happened a year after Zoleka's daughter Zenani died in a car accident at the age of 13 in 2010

In a previous Instagram post Zoleka spoke openly about her son's death, and recalled the emotions she experienced during the funeral. 

"He looked so cute, so at peace and with the most adorable smile. When his casket was lowered into his grave right next to my Zenani, I kept thinking..."It's okay, baby... Go be with your sister, she's got you," because she's always been a better mother than I was to Zwelami and now even with 'Nawe, she would be just as incredible," she wrote.

In recent years, Zoleka has spoken about her on-going battles with depression and how substance abuse negatively impacted her ability to parent her children. She has since taken positive steps toward recovery. 

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