South African celebs diagnosed with cancer

Cancer touches more lives than you could imagine 

By  | Jun 22, 2020, 01:45 PM  | Drama

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South African celebs diagnosed with cancer

As the South African public shows support for 702 talk show host, Xolani Gwala, following his revelation that he is battling advanced stage colon cancer, we take a look at ZAlebs who have been diagnosed with different forms of cancer. 

Cancer touches more lives than you can imagine and while some have managed to beat it, not everyone has been so lucky. Take a look at some of the famous faces affected by this illness. 

Zoleka Mandela

Zoleka Mandela

Mandela (who is the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela) was diagnosed with breast cancer over six years ago and has had a very public battle with the illness. In fact she has had it twice and was once quoted by All 4 Women as saying “the fact that I have it for the 2nd time is another reason why I proudly live my life creating more of an awareness about it so that it no longer silences women and instead forces them to speak out and educate others (one out of nine women in South Africa will be diagnosed in their lifetime) on the disease because remaining silent will never end the fight! I feel like I I’ve already won the war. I’ve beaten it once and I will beat it again!“

Johnny Clegg

johnny clegg

The singer who was diagnosed by in 2015 recently revealed, during a press conference about his final tour "these shows are hard for me," Johnny said when questioned about the state of mind he is in. He explained: "I’m dealing with another parallel world that I work in with my diagnosis. Pancreatic [cancer] is lethal. There’s no way out of it." 

He has since had two rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery called a whipple operation among other medical procedures. He explained that as a result of the surgery “I don’t have a duodenum, I have half my stomach, I don’t have a bile duct, I don’t have a gallbladder, I have half my pancreas. It’s all been reconfigured.”

Lillian Dube 

Lillian Dube

The veteran actress was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2008 which returned early last year. She has since dedicated her life and her platform to creating cancer awareness. 

"That cancer of mine: remember I had cancer 9 years ago? Then it came back last year. The first time I had a lumpectomy where they removed the lump from my right breast. The second time they had to cut the breast out which is a mastectomy. And recently they found out that my cancer mutates and I need to be on treatment which is expensive and you don’t get it in public hospitals. I know this because I asked my oncologist and it’s bound to cost R500 000! It’s not only the treatment that costs so much but I also have to take tablets for five years and it’s also expensive," said Dube in an interview with Channel 24

She was also once quoted talking about how her Ben 10 helped her through it all. 

Nelson Mandela

nelson mandela

The icon was diagnosed with prostate cancer back 2001 and beat it after successfully undergoing radiation treatment. 


Mandoza singing

The kwaito star was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed on at the age of 38. 

Iko Mash

RIP Iko Mash

The trans activist, make-up artist and socialite lost her battle to cancer back in July 2017. 

Koyo Bala 

Koyo Bala

Hugh Masekela


The legendary musician is currently battling Prostate Cancer.

Bala, who passed away in March 2016 had been battling colorectal cancer since 2013. He was one of three members of the music group 3Sum along with Amstel and the late Jeff Moyo. 

Ray Phiri

Ray Phiri

The legendary musician and former Stemela band member succumbed to lung cancer in the same month as Iko Mash, earlier this year. 

Desmond Tutu

desmond tutu

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was first diagnosed with prostate cancer back in 1997, it returned last year and he received treatment for it.

To get behind the cause and show your support, click here to sign up for either the 5km or 8km walk at this year's Avon Justine iThemba Walkathon.

ithemba walkathon 2017

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