well i don't know about mandrake 6.1 (is it really 6.1?? that's Ooooooooooold), but there's no reason to not be able to read a zip drive. have you not got it set up on the system? what interface does it have? if it's an ide interface, then you'd just have:
/dev/hdc1 /mnt/zip vfat defaults
in /etc/fstab, then just mount it with
and the data should be there.