Mzansi Celebs

Zoleka Mandela’s baby daddy on being banned from the funeral, coping with criticism & his love for her

Andile Leeroy Cana, a painter, creative strategist, and the father of Zoleka Mandela‘s last-born child, has been facing criticism and scrutiny on social media following Zoleka’s death from cancer. Zoleka Mandela, an activist and author, had listed Andile in her diary as one of the people she wished to be excluded from her funeral. Andile respected her wishes and did not attend the funeral, choosing to mourn privately at home.

Zoleka Mandela’s diary listed Cana as one of the individuals she wished to be excluded from her funeral, along with Mandla Mandela, Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, and King Buyelekhaya Danlindyebo, among others. Respecting the wishes of the late mother of his child, Cana stayed away from the funeral, which took place on September 30 at Bryanston Methodist Church.

Zoleka Mandela

“Making it to ‘the list’ broke his heart. “I know things were not perfect between us before her passing, but she had allowed me to see our child and we were trying to mend things,” he says, adding, “Sometimes relationships don’t work out. I don’t believe she hated me, but I still think she was hurt when we separated. I was hoping to mend things, but I guess God had other plans and took her away.”

Andile and Zoleka initially met through Instagram when a friend suggested that Andile create a tribute jacket for Zoleka due to her cancer battle and activism work. Their collaboration led to a deeper connection, and they fell in love. However, Andile acknowledges that their relationship had its challenges, and they were in the process of trying to mend things before Zoleka’s passing.

Zoleka Mandela1

“I mourned her in the privacy of my home,” he says. The two met on Instagram after a friend suggested that he should do a tribute jacket for her because she has been through a lot fighting cancer and her work as an activist. “I was single at the time and I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend, but the spark was too much to ignore,” he says. “The same friend who had suggested we work together surprisingly told me about her being gifted in custom-made shoes. So, we were like a match made in heaven,” he adds. The author and activist had a passion project where she painted sneakers and sold them. Andile painted jackets, which he sold. He once customised jackets for the late Shona and Connie Ferguson, Somizi Mhlongo, Bonang Matheba and Vusi Nova. When they met, he did not expect they would fall in love. “It was all about work in the beginning. We collaborated and this meant spending a lot of time together.” After weeks of working, the two fell in love. “Love is a beautiful thing. We could even finish each other’s sentences, but she warned me about the jealousy that was ahead of us, especially from people on social media. I didn’t even know much about her or anything about her prior to the friend introducing me,” he says. “So, I had to understand her and about her during the relationship. Eventually, she gave me the greatest gift of all, baby Zingce.”

The criticism Andile has faced on social media has been difficult for him to handle. He emphasizes that people do not truly know the details of his relationship with Zoleka and asks for respect and privacy during this challenging time. He wants to focus on his work and his child, Zingce, and hopes that others will understand and support him in maintaining his peace.

Andile expresses his heartbreak over not being able to mend things with Zoleka before her passing and acknowledges that their relationship was not perfect. He believes that she may have been hurt when they separated but does not believe that she hated him. He is learning to cope with her loss and has chosen to distance himself from social media to better navigate this difficult period for the sake of his child and family.


In other news – VIDEO: Lerato Mvelase’s outfit at the SAFTAs has Mzansi talking

Popular South African actress Lerato Mvelase bagged the “Best Actress in a TV Drama” award at the 17th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) on Saturday, 30 September. However, that is not entirely why she has topped the trends list on X (formerly Twitter).

Lerato Mvelase

The Justice Served leading lady is trending for the revealing outfit she wore at the event held at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg. Read More

Back to top button