27 Sep

Lesson learnt from the late Zoleka Mandela's state of preparedness for death.

By Khutso Mokgehle

It is a sad week for fans and followers of Ms Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of the first black South African President, Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela, an anti-apartheid activitist. 

Zoleka Mandela made a name for herself as an author, and she has been journaling her struggle with cancer on social media for a few years now that she has really captured the hearts of many people. Her death did not come as a shock, as she had prepared all her fans of her deteriorating health, even though it was expected, the announcement of her passing is still received with broken hearts as she was a mother of four children. Her youngest daughter being only one year old.

Captured videos of the Zoleka were featured on X (formerly Twitter), but one video really got my attention and kept me thinking. This is an interview with the SABC News. Zoleka mentions that she is lucky to be able to give directive of how she wants things to be done when she has departed including how she wants her children to be taken care of.

As mom of two little children, this is something I always think about. What will happen should I pass on? And as a Christian and also being surrounded by Christians, I know that these are some of the thoughts we would often want to rebuke. It feels like a negative statement but we really need to start thinking. 

Cancer patients are often informed of how long they will live, therefore giving them enough time to prepare when the day of the departure comes. However, we need to be honest to ourselves and remind ourselves that at the end of the day, we are all passing by, therefore the preparing should not be limited to people who have terminal illnesses but to all of us.

Ecclesiastes 7:4 "A wise person thinks a lot about death,
    while a fool thinks only about having a good time." 

A wise person thinks about death, a lot. As a parent, you need to put your affairs in order. 

  1. Do you have a life cover?
  2. Do you have a funeral policy?
  3. Do you have a will? 
  4. Who will be a legal guardian of your child should you pass on?
  5. Where and how would like funeral proceedings to be?

These are clearly not comfortable questions but very necessary. We need to be aware that death on it's own is one painful experience, but where a parent has made necessary arrangements, the effect of the pain is minimised when your children are well taken care of after your departure. Their life should not take a complete turn after you left, by this I mean, having to relocate, change schools, live with family members they do not, etc. And this normally happens to children when their parents did not plan well for them when they were still alive.

As uncomfortable as this conversation is, you need to start it with your wife/husband, siblings, parents, children, pastors and friends. 

The Ultimate Preparation

In as much as it important to make the earthly preparations, it is even more important to think about life after death. Let me break this one into two:

Heritage and legacy

Still on the little people we brought to earth; when you depart, who do you want them to hold on to? I for one, want my kids to know for a fact that there is not any other hope but Jesus Christ! 

Since we do not know the day or hour we will die, this means everyday we get to spend with our kids, we need to teach them about Christ, the gospel, the importance of repentance, the fruits of the spirit, how to pray, putting our faith in God what is worship and being a servant and many other values we get from the Word of God. 

Our children need to know that I can leave and forsake them, but God will always be their Master Parent. They need to know that He has plans and a purpose for their lives, even without me in the picture. Ourchildren need to know that even though we love them, God loves them even more, that His plan and will is perfect and needs no alterations, therefore even if I will not be there for them forever, God will always will be there with them. They need to know that as long as God is on the throne, they will not be orphans. 

We need to teach them this. Often times when parents pass on, children backslide as they feel betrayed by God, but if a proper foundation of their faith is laid, they will not be shaken. 

Eternity and eternal rewards

So, mommy and daddy, when you leave this earth, where will your soul go? The Bible tells us about heaven and hell. And that Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life, no one goes to the Father accept through Him. (John 14:6)

The Bible tells us that we need to believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, you shall be justified (Romans 10:8-10). The Bible also tells us to repent from our sins and to be holy for He is holy, for without holiness, no eye will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)

It is therefore important that you walk in complete obedience to God once you have believed in Him. 

The Bible also informs us on multiple verses that we will be rewarded in heaven. And trust me this reward will be necessary in heaven, so itis good to serve God completely while you are still on earth, with your time, your body, your skills and your money. And whatever you do, please remember that LOVE should be the motive. Without love, all your work is in vain. 


What a joyful celebration it will be when every member of your family meets you in heaven one day. Let us be prepared. 

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