Little Shanaya Govender, or Shanaya the First as she affectionately called herself due to her love for Sophia the First and all things Princess, has lost her battle against a rare cancer – Stage 4 Ewing Sarcoma, with metastasis in both lungs. The 5 year old rare warrior, who had her left arm amputated last year, captured the hearts of all who heard her story and the brave demeanor in which she handled her illness – complete with tiaras and ballgowns.


Her parents announced her passing on Facebook, describing it as being “in her true style”.

“Shanaya passed away now at 7:56am. She wanted her favourite dress, her wig, her tiara, her high heels and make-up. She made us call everyone she is close to then stopped breathing and her heart stopped. She did it her way. No pain, no suffering,” her family said yesterday.

Shanaya had just returned from a trip to Disney World with her family to meet the Disney princesses – a wish made possible by the Reach for a Dream Foundation, but took a turn for the worse upon their return, and she and her parents made the decision to cease further treatment thereafter.

“Our princess has turned into a star to shine bright on us forever. She did it her way in true Shanaya the First style”.

Our thoughts are with her parents, Kesavan and Lee-Ann, and her brother Vikeshlyn during this time. We will always remember Shanaya as the brave little princess who fought courageously with grace and dignity, teaching us the power of a smile no matter the circumstance.

We will post details of the celebration of her life on our social media pages as details become available.