Zoleka Mandela perseveres in the face of her ongoing cancer battle

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Zoleka Mandela is going strong amid health issues, pregnancy and losing love. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Dino Codevilla)
Zoleka Mandela is going strong amid health issues, pregnancy and losing love. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Dino Codevilla)

The poise and determination with which Zoleka Mandela carries herself is remarkable given everything she's endured.

The author and activist – who's a granddaughter of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela – this year gave birth to her sixth child, and recently revealed her cancer has returned.

But she's standing strong.

This week Zoleka (42) thanked her friends and business associates for their support and said she would be cutting back on some of her obligations to take care of herself.

READ MORE| How Zoleka Mandela got her groove back – with a new man and a healthy lifestyle 

She said she'd be realigning her personal life and business interests. 

"I would like to express my gratitude for the support and love I have been showered with since announcing the recent development in my health. I am currently finding the best way to manage my illness and business. I would like to thank each person behind all the brands and campaigns that have shown interest in working together," she wrote.

Zoleka said she feared her cancer could be incurable.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and went into remission after having treatment but the cancer returned in 2016. She underwent more treatment and again went into remission – until now.

Zoleka recently confirmed her cancer had metastasised and spread to her bones. Metastatic breast cancer cells tend to spread to the bones more often than they do to other parts of the body. More than half of people who develop stage 4 breast cancer have bone metastasis.

READ MORE| 9 things doctors do to prevent cancer – and it's easy for you to do too

Over the years Zoleka has been candid about her cancer treatment and she's opening up about it again now. 

“I went for an X-ray of my chest and ribs a few days ago – I have a pathological fracture and swelling caused by cancer,” she posted.

She recently praised her son, Zwelami (20), for his unwavering support.

Zoleka
Zoleka is deeply grateful to all those in her support network. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Dino Codevilla)

“I honestly don’t know what I did to deserve my son. He has seen me in every season and we’ve got this special bond that affirms so much of my journey. He has shown me what true forgiveness looks like in his young life, something I will never stop being grateful for and am still working on mastering myself,” she said.

Zoleka has also been open about her struggle with drugs and alcohol and her "addiction" to love.

“Finding out I was addicted to love was in no way surprising – hello, six kids and single! But acknowledging it and finding healthy ways to be alone or date for the right reasons is something I’m far from mastering, especially when loneliness rears its head. It’s a whole different kind of drug to kick. People are so much more complex than a drug cooked up in a lab,” she said in a recent interview.

Zoleka and her ex, Thierry Bashala, divorced in 2020 after six years of marriage.

READ MORE| 'Early detection saved my life': Zoleka Mandela recovering after breast cancer surgery 

Zoleka, who lost her 13-year-old daughter Zenani in a road accident in 2010, celebrated her 12th year of sobriety this year. She has shared mental-health journey over the years and promoted a mental-health awareness campaign.

"Learn to ask for help," she said on Jacaranda FM.

Sources: TFG Media, Zoleka Mandela Instagram, ZAlebs, Briefly, Bona, JacarandaFMBreastcancer.orgMayoClinic 

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