Author Zoleka Mandela’s final wish to be laid to rest next to her two children, mother, and grandmother faced a tumultuous turn of events on Friday, September 29th as the family fought for her body. The When Hope Whispers writer, who had meticulously planned her funeral while battling cancer, was not granted her desired resting place.
Drama and Court Order at Zoleka Mandela’s Burial
Reports have surfaced regarding dramatic scenes at Zoleka Mandela’s burial. Her aunt, Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, arrived at the gravesite accompanied by the police and a court order demanding that the author be buried elsewhere. Initial plans had suggested she would find her final resting place at the Mandela Estate within the Fourways Memorial Park, alongside her family.
A source revealed, “There are legal documents that have divided the family. They were forced to move the body from the estate to where the ex-husband had bought the grave. These were orders made by her very own aunt, Zenani.”
Additionally, it was reported that a grave had already been prepared for the activist, but her ex-husband, Thierry Bashala, adamantly opposed the Mandela family’s intentions to lay her to rest there.
Zenani and Thierry Bashala ‘On the List’
Before her passing, Zoleka Mandela had purportedly compiled a list of individuals she did not want present at her funeral. Notably, both Zenani and her ex-husband, Thierry Bashala, were included on this list.
Other names on this controversial list comprised Mandla Mandela, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, and Mike Seakamela, the latter of whom she accused of sexual abuse. Despite being on the list, Mandla Mandela attended both the funeral and the memorial service.
Zoleka Mandela’s Battle with Cancer
The Mandela family had disclosed that Zoleka’s battle with cancer had been ongoing. Last week, she was admitted to the hospital for continued treatment for metastatic cancer affecting her hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain, and spinal cord.
Zoleka Mandela had demonstrated incredible resilience, having triumphed over breast cancer twice, with her initial diagnosis dating back to 2012.
Tragically, recent scans revealed a significant progression of the disease, including lung fibrosis and multiple emboli. She passed away on the evening of Monday, September 25th, surrounded by friends and family. The family expressed their deepest gratitude to the dedicated medical team that had cared for her.
Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of the late South African former president Nelson Mandela and ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela, leaves behind four children: her only son, Zwelami (born in 2003), and her daughters, Zanyiwe (born in 2014), Zenzile (born in 2019), and Zingce Zobuhle Mandela (born in 2022).