“Today and every day is a painful reminder of how I failed her as a mother” – Zoleka Mandela


In an emotional message, Zoleka wishes her late daughter a happy birthday.

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Seven years ago, Zoleka’s 13 year old daughter, Zenani died in a car accident. The pain however still pulls at Zoleka over her tragic loss. Today, Zenani would have turned 20 and to commemorate her daughter, Zoleka took to social media in a lengthy emotional message to her Zeni, her #bestfriend as she calls her.

In the message she reflects on how she wasn’t the best mother to Zeni at times.

“I'm remembering all those times she cried and begged me to stay home, all those times I chose everything else - the men, the sex, the drugs and the alcohol over my own two children.”

On her suicidal nature:

“In 2010, just two days after her 13th birthday that I missed being hospitalized for an attempted suicide as a result of a drug induced psychotic episode ... My daughter was tragically killed by a drunk driver ten days after I had tried to end my own life by setting my bedroom on fire with her and her brother in the next bedroom.”

Gratitude for Zeni making her the mother she is today:

“I know that I can still honour my baby's memory with endless gratitude because had it not been for her passing, my drug addiction would have led to my own death and left my son motherless. Thank you, Zeni for making me the mother I am today!”


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