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Mandla Mandela denies Zoleka abuse, slams ‘unsavoury behaviour’

Mandla Mandela has seemingly questioned the timing and the validity of a list of people his cousin Zoleka banned from attending her funeral.

The eldest grandson of the late Nelson Mandela has also denied allegations of sexual abuse against the mom-of-six.

Zoleka lost her battle with cancer on Monday, 25 September. She was laid to rest in a private funeral service at the Bryanston Methodist Church on Friday.

ALSO READ: ‘Heartbreaking’: GBV org reacts to Zoleka Mandela ‘abuser’ list


In the recently unearthed letter – dated 7 April 2023 – Zoleka Mandela reveals her last wishes.

“I do not want the following people at my funeral nor near my dead body,” she adamantly wrote.

She continued to list over a dozen people, including her aunt Zenani Mandela and ex Thierry Bashala, who both attended the funeral.

ALSO READ: Zoleka Mandela: 5 Heartbreaking tragedies she endured

zoleka mandela, list
Images via Instagram: @zolekamandela

However, the list also revealed the names of people who allegedly abused her, including cousin Mandla Mandela and two other male relatives.

According to The Citizen, Zoleka’s cousin Ndileka confirmed the validity of the list.

She said: “There is a list in circulation on Twitter that I can confirm that contains the names of people. That was her (Zoleka’s) dying wish for those people not to attend the funeral.”

In her memoir When Hope Whispers, the cancer fighter spoke about experiencing childhood abuse at the hands of her close relatives. In it, she claims the abuse led her down a path of self-destruction, including substance abuse, promiscuity, and even suicide attempts.


In a statement, Mandla Mandela revealed that he attended Zoleka’s funeral out of respect.

He said: “I was on the list of confirmed attendees and accordingly paid my last respects. The timing of the appearance of a list of people who Zoleka apparently didn’t want to attend her funeral is unfortunate. 

ALSO READ: Drama at Zoleka Mandela’s burial as family ‘fights for her body’

He also distanced himself from Zoleka’s allegations of sexual abuse.

He continued: “The allegation of sexual abuse is serious and very uncharacteristic for someone as outspoken as her to leave it undisclosed until her unfortunate demise.

“I categorically deny the allegations levelled against me relating to any form of abuse against Zoleka Mandela. It is extremely unfortunate that my cousin sister’s last rites were mired by this unsavoury behaviour and that serious allegations of this nature could be bandied about so irresponsibly.

“We call on all family and friends to restore respect and dignity and to let Zoleka rest in peace.”