04/10/2017 11:45 SAST | Updated 04/10/2017 11:45 SAST

Zoleka Mandela, You Are Our Woman Crush Every Day -- Thank You For Beating The Odds

Your strength is absolutely inspirational.

Zoleka Mandela.
Zoleka Mandela.

Author and social activist Zoleka Mandela is our Woman Crush Wednesday.

The 37-year-old granddaughter of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and the late former president Nelson Mandela has truly beaten the odds, which makes her a true inspiration.

1. She is a breast cancer survivor, not once but twice.

The disease necessitated a double mastectomy, multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation sessions.

A few weeks ago, Mandela found a lump in her chest. But doctors confirmed it was non-cancerous.

28.09.2017 ... I found a lump in my chest just over 3 weeks ago whilst performing a Breast Self Exam. I didn't want everyone panicking so I kept quiet! My Day One (my grandmother) got to my appointment today and before I did because she was panicking! See? 😬 Today's Breast Ultrasound with Dr. Seider (my Radiologist at Donald Gordon) confirmed that the mass in my chest is BENIGN (non-cancerous). I do not have Breast Cancer for the 3rd time after beating it twice, I simply have Fat Necrosis which presents it's like a lump - there's a bit of pain and discomfort but all it is, is dead fat tissue in the area where an 19grm tumour was last removed. It's caused by a combination of surgery and Radiation, usually occurs 6mnths after treatment. I had 30 sessions of Radiation which I completed in March this year. There is no need for a Biopsy (this is when they take a tissue sample to examine it); although he says the mass may not disappear completely, I should keep a close eye on it and have another ultrasound should it continue to grow! Thanking Dr. Carol Benn, Dr. Demetriou, my family and my loved ones for being my sanity! ❤️ I think I might just complete my last stage of breast reconstruction in celebration of what feels like another lease on life ... Nipple Reconstruction!!! 😂 But after living without them for 5yrs, is there really any point to them? 🙈 Okay! I'm done being a patient for today, back to my studies and motherly/wifely duties!!! I can finally study in peace minus the distraction of a possible 3rd diagnosis!!! 😝 P.S. I think Zenani and Zenawe were side eyeing God, smiling and saying, "We got your back, Mamma!!!" 😇 ... #KnowYourCancer #SilenceCancerBeforeItSilencesYou #BreastCancerSurvivor #BreastSelfExam #TwoTimeBreastCancerSurvivor #ZolekaMandela #Radiation #BreastUltraSound #HormonePositiveCancer #LuminalBCancer #EstrogenPositiveBreastCancer #LuminalTypeBMammaryCarcinoma

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2. She is seven years sober this year

She has been honest about her decade-long addiction to drugs and alcohol, and her recovery process.

Hi, I'm Zoleka Mandela and I'm an alcoholic addict. It's my 7th recovery birthday today, you guys ... 11th August 2017!!! I had my 1st drink at the age of 9 and had become an alcoholic 4yrs later. I first started smoking Marijuana at age 13, experimented with other drugs throughout my teenage years, until I discovered Cocaine at age 20 - which I was addicted to for 10yrs. Addiction doesn't always have to end in death - using drugs and alcohol to numb my feelings towards the sexual abuse and physical abuse of my childhood and teenage years, was a means to rid myself of the self blame and resentment. It was only in 2010 that I checked myself into rehab (by that time, I had been mixing my anti depressants with alcohol) and I have remained free from illegal drugs and alcohol ever since. Today, I celebrate my 7th year of sobriety!!! 🎉 #ZolekaMandela #NeverTooLateToRewriteYourLifeStory #RecoveryBirthday #CleanAndSober #Alcoholism #DrugAddiction #RecoveringAddict #Alcoholic #DrugAddict #CocaineAddict #Sobriety #7YrMilestone #SexualAbuse #PhysicalAbuse #SurvivorOfSexualAbuse #SurvivorOfPhysicalAbuse

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3. She is a proud mama, even though she has suffered two losses

She has a teenage son and a three-year-old daughter, despite the loss of two children within two years between 2010 and 2011.

4. She is a bestselling author

Her autobiography, "When Hope Whispers" was published in 2013 and made it on to Bridge Books' top seller list.

You guys, thank you so much for all the orders and requests for autographed copies of When Hope Whispers! ❤️ I know it's sold out again and in most book stores nationwide ... Good news, you can still order your copy from the @zolekamandelafoundation - call our office on 060 846 5500 or email us on We have 80 copies left, for now ... 😊 I mentioned organizing a book signing for all those who want their already bought copies autographed but Unisa is showing me such flames! 😂 Once I'm done with my 4 exams though, I'll figure it all out and give you an official date! 🙈 #WhenHopeWhispers #Autobiography #ZolekaMandelaFoundation #BreastCancerAwareness #BreastCancerSurvivor #RoadSafetyAwareness #ChildDeath #Addiction #DrugAddiction #CocaineAddiction #Alcoholism #RecoveringAddict #SurvivorOfSexualAbuse #SexualAbuse #SurvivorOfPhysicAbuse #PhysicalAbuse #ZolekaMandela #Author #Activist #Columnist #Mother #Wife #NeverTooLateToRewriteYourLifeStory

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5. She is one hot mama

She has been on a fitness journey that's as aspirational as it is envy inducing, eating healthily and putting in the hours on the exercise front.

Check out my before and after picture - July 2016 vs June 2017, a whooping 20kgs difference! 🙈 I was so overweight and HAPPY ... 😊 Had to lose the weight to minimize the risk of re-diagnosis, the more weight I gain, the more Estrogen is produced in my body which accelerates the growth rate of CANCER cells. I was diagnosed with Estrogen Positive Breast Cancer twice, ESTROGEN is just not my friend!!! 😄 So in all honesty, it was by default that I lost all this weight ... I feel GREAT though, Mr. Bashala has less to work with 😈 ... but my 37yr old body's snatched and getting ready to birth twins when God finally feels like it's ready! 🙏🏾 I'M SO READY!!! 😜 Day 17 - 100 mountain climbers and 35 push ups, I can't really do the normal ones! 😂 Warmed up on the treadmill, burned 100 calories sprinting on an incline. #37YrOldMotherOf4 #Maintaining70Kgs #WeightLossJourney #WorkOutMotivation #30DayBeachBodyChallenge #LadiesPushUps #MountainClimbers #BeforeAndAfter

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6. She is a student at Unisa

Criminology is her major.

Mandela, you a true testament of the strength of the human spirit. Through you we believe it's never too late to pick yourself up and start afresh.

Good luck with the journey ahead.