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Zoleka Mandela: Activist Plans for her Death After Cancer Treatment Stopped

Terminally ill author and activist Zoleka Mandela is planning for the eventuality of her death as she battles cancer for the third time.  Sh...

Terminally ill author and activist Zoleka Mandela is planning for the eventuality of her death as she battles cancer for the third time. 

She was previously diagnosed with and beat breast cancer. Mandela opened up about her plans in an interview with Phemelo Motene on the Point of View show on Kaya 959.

"I think it probably will sound strange, but I think I'm blessed enough or fortunate enough to be in a position where I'm in my planning stages," she said.

"I'm having conversations with my loved ones and my lawyer and my therapist and my siblings about what happens in the days leading to my passing; what happens after I pass away." She said a personal care plan had also been formulated in the therapy she attended with her siblings. 

She said the plan asked questions about what would happen to her book When Hope Whispers; what will happen to her children; the messaging that would be relayed to the media or people outside of the family, and what will happen to memorabilia, heirlooms and more.

Regarding planning for her death, Mandela said she had "learned to really just be okay with my eventuality".

"I'm learning to be okay with living despite an expected death, you know. I'm also just continuously evaluating various facets of my life, like my relationships, my priorities, my goals and things like that," she said. 
Zoleka Mandela:  Activist Plans for her Death After Cancer Treatment Stopped 

"I think that's empowering for me too because, again, I've been put in a place where I'm able to actually have a say in the things that I want to happen, especially with all my children."

The granddaughter of struggle stalwarts Nelson and Winnie Mandela announced her cancer returned in August 2022 after being diagnosed with bone metastasis. A month later, she began treatment for the cancer in her lungs, liver, ribs, spinal cord and hips.

In the interview, she told Motene that her cancer was "metastatic" - it originated from the original site, her breast, and spread to other parts of her body. She added that treatment, this time, aimed to improve her quality of life and reduce her pain.

When sharing her diagnosis, Mandela said it was "daunting and terrifying". Last month, in the first video of her Terminally Free YouTube series, she said opened up about her first cancer diagnosis.

"I was first diagnosed in 2012, at the age of 32," she said. "How I discovered that something was wrong was – I had given birth to my late son, Zenawe, and because he only survived two days and without breastfeeding because he was in neonatal ICU, they gave me something to stop the production of milk."

Mandela said she felt a lump in her left breast for the first time and assumed it was due to her medication. After feeling a second lump, she went for an MRI.

"By that time, my left breast had felt completely different to my right breast that I then went to go get an MRI done - there was drama with that situation," she said. "Eventually, I was diagnosed by Dr Carol Ben in 2012 on 15 March with a hormone-positive breast cancer."
In her May 2 tweet, she said, " Guess what happened today? I had my last/10th Radiation Treatment to my brain. Got to take my Radiation Mask with me, as memorabilia! Radiation Oncologist has also asked me to discontinue the STEROIDS, back home and feeling indebted! Peace. Passion. Positivity. - News24

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