Nelson Mandela’s Granddaughter Tells Her Addiction Story

Nelson MandelaFor some reason people think that those born into wealthy families or move up into celebrity status are not normal human beings. It’s as if wealth, privilege, and celebrity are going to somehow turn people into robots. These people are expected to be bullet proof and addiction proof. That is never going to happen unless we somehow develop an anti-addiction vaccine that will cause us to never become addicted to anything. I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

We are all familiar with the famous activist and leader of the apartheid movement in South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela spent a lifetime in and out of jail while fighting the systems that kept his country under an unfair and unethical minority white rule. He fought his whole life to bring justice and democracy to his country. Along the way he married and had children. His granddaughter, Zoleka Mandela, recently published a book with her personal account of life as a Mandela and how it affected her. She tells of how she was born into a revolutionary family and that even as a young child she witness war and addiction up close and personal.

In an interview with the Associated Press, she said, “By the time I was born, on 9 April 1980, my mother (Zindzi Mandela) knew how to strip and assemble an AK-47 in exactly thirty-eight seconds. She was twenty years old, trained in guerrilla warfare and already a full-fledged member of Umkhonto we Sizwe (the armed wing of the African National Congress),” says the book’s opening line, describing her mother’s participation in violent struggle against apartheid.

She goes on to say how she started abusing drugs, like alcohol, cocaine and marijuana, in her  teens. She mentions thoughts of suicide throughout her childhood and even tells the account of an attempted suicide after the untimely death of her 13-year old daughter Zenani. Zoleka says the book is a way for her to tell her story and hopefully save other parents from the pain and grief she experienced in her addiction to drugs. She tells the story that one too many parents who are addicted can understand and empathize with. Recovery from addiction is possible and unfortunately some people will suffer from the loss of loved ones before they truly heal and get passed the grips of addiction. Her story is the story of many and it’s a beautiful thing to see her sharing it with the world.

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