The African National Congress extends its heartfelt congratulations to comrade Fasiha Hassan, who is a youth activist and an ANC Communicator, on her achievement as the 2019 laureate of the Student Peace Prize. 
Comrade Fasiha joins the ranks as the 11th laureate to be bestowed this prestigious international award. Her name was announced at Wergelandsalen in Oslo, Norway on 9 October 2018. 
This award is in recognition of the contribution of all students who became a propelling force behind the #FeesMustFall movement. Comrade Fasiha has emphasized that the Student Peace Prize“… [B]elongs to every single person who put their bodies, their degrees and their futures on the line in the fight for free, quality and decolonized education. The Student Peace Prize is an accolade for the #FeesMustFall movement itself.”
It is equally about an appreciation that leadership carries responsibility to ensure protests are conducted in a peaceful manner that does not trample or undermine the rights of others. Comrade Fasiha is being acknowledged for her role in finding constructive and non-violent solutions to the higher education crisis.
The Student Peace Prize was established in 1999, an initiative from volunteers at the International Student Festival in Trondheim (ISFiT). It is awarded every two years to students or student organizations working to promote peace, human rights and democracy. The Prize is awarded on behalf of all students in Norway, while an independent Student Peace Prize Committee makes the selection itself. The election happens through the independent committee for the Students Peace Prize, while the award itself, takes place during ISFiT’s own award ceremony.
“The Student Peace Prize represents the acknowledgement of the work of #FeesMustFall on a global scale where students across the world are fighting against the privatization of higher education. It also serves as an affirming stance for the work of so many young people in galvanizing behind this cause,” said Cde Fasiha said when asked about the importance of the prize.
As the 11th laureate, Cde Fasiha joins the ranks of ten students and student organizations from Libya, Burma, East Timor, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Thailand/Burma, Western Sahara, Croatia, Iran and Bahrain who have previously received the prize. It will be awarded in February 2019 at the end of the International Student Festival in Norway.
Comrade Fasiha Hassan hopes “… [T]hat this event will inspire more and more young people to take up a collective cause that will positively benefit the lives of our people. And to continue fighting even when the situation appears bleak. The Student Peace Prize is an illustration of what can happen when young people put their minds to something.”


The African National Congress (ANC) lowers its revolutionary banner in mourning on the untimely passing of our comrade; the leader, revolutionary, activist and patriot, Mama Bomo Edna Edith Molewa.

Comrade Edna passed away on the 22nd of September 2018 surrounded by family and friends, following a brief illness.

The ANC and the country has indeed lost an exceptional leader; who dedicated her life to the struggle for the liberation of our people; and upon attaining liberation continued to serve our glorious movement and her country with distinction. Uwile umti omkulu.

Comrade Edna, like many of those called upon by the ANC to serve in government, gave selflessly of their energies, talents and experience in pursuit of the ANC’s vision for A Better Life for All.

She knew and understood too well that emancipation did not end with our liberation, and would require the efforts of disciplined, dedicated cadres in order to stay the course. She heeded the words of President OR Tambo who said” “the fight for freedom must go on until it is won…until our country is free and happy and peaceful as part of the community of man, we cannot rest.”

She epitomized the kind of principled, ethical and selfless leadership that has been the bedrock of the ANC since its inception. At the time of her passing she was a member of the ANC NEC and NWC, and served as Minister of Environmental Affairs, a position she has held since 2014. A respected gender and women’s rights activist, she was also a member of the NEC of the ANC Women’s League, a position she retained since 2003. She also chaired the ANC’s National Disciplinary Committee.

Her passing leaves a great void, especially in the subcommittees in which she served and in which she was such a valued and experienced contributor. Until 2017 she chaired the International Relations (IR) Subcommittee; it was under her stewardship that the IR Subcommittee provided the research and capacity support that paved the way for the passing of a number of ground-breaking foreign policy resolutions at the ANC’s 54th National Conference at Nasrec in 2017.

She believed firmly in the principle of collective leadership that defines our organization, and in remembering this we recall Andrew Carnegie’s words; that “no man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.”

Mama Edna was born in Bela Bela Province in Limpopo on 23rd of March 1957 and spent her formative years there; going on to train as an educator at the famed Hebron Training College – an institution that has produced many luminaries and successful alumni who have gone on to positions of leadership in South Africa and abroad.

Comrade Edna joined the liberation struggle at a young age, first through the ranks of the civics and trade union movement, but also was a member of the ANC’s liberation army Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

For her loyalty to the liberation struggle she paid a harsh penalty, as she was targeted by the repressive state apparatus. She was arrested and detained countless times, and spent a year in solitary confinement soon after giving birth to her first child, who was cruelly taken away from her.

Mama Edna was a seasoned trade unionist with a lifelong commitment to the workers’ struggle and to the emancipation of black women workers in particular. Since the 1980’s she occupied a range of positions within the trade union movement.

This included as chairperson of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) at the Warmbaths Branch between 1984 and 1990, going on to become the Deputy President of SACCAWU. She was also one of the founder members of COSATU.

Our departed comrade’s life is a chronicle of ‘firsts’. Upon liberation she was among the first group of MP’s in the new democratic parliament – going on to make history as the first woman chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry. Her skills as a negotiator and arbitrator saw her appointed to the board of NEDLAC, that played a key role in the formation of the new South Africa’s economic policies.

She served her branch and provincial structures in the North West in various capacities; as chairperson of the ANCWL in the North West, as Deputy Chairperson of the ANCWL in GA Rankuwa and as provincial Treasure of the ANC. Mama Edna went on to become the first woman to be elected as a Provincial Chairperson of the ANC, in the North West Province, going on to become the first woman Premier of North West in 2004.

In the words of Douglas McArthur, a true leader does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of their actions and the integrity of their intent.

Such was Comrade Edna; a loyal cadre of the movement who gave her all to the positions to which she was deployed. It is testimony to the faith held in her by the ANC and its leadership and membership that until her passing she had served under each of South Africa’s presidents since the dawn of democracy.

She was a longstanding member of Cabinet, having served first as Minister of Social Development then of Water Affairs and finally as Minister of Environmental Affairs.

Comrade Edna was internationally respected for the important work she has done in the water and conservation fields, and it is thanks to her efforts that environmental issues have been elevated to provincial and national importance – a process that began when she was an MEC for Environment and Tourism in North West Province in 1996.
She is widely credited as being instrumental in the negotiations that led to the signing of the historic Paris Agreement to Combat Climate Change. For this she was awarded the highest French National Order, the title of Officier de la Légion d’honneur in August this year.
This only added to a long and illustrious career of stellar achievement. In 2017 she was installed as the first black woman chancellor of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, the first institution of its kind in post-apartheid South Africa.

As a gender activist, Mama Edna was a friend, comrade and mentor to many within the ANC; and was respected by her comrades in the ANC Women’s League; having also served as the ANCWL’s Spokesperson until 2016.

She was always at the forefront of women’s struggles in our country, and just months ago joined her comrades in the Total Shutdown March against gender-based violence in Kwa-Zulu/Natal. She also wrote passionately about various women’s issues for national and international newspapers on behalf of the ANCWL.

The ANC has declared this to be the Year of the Cadre, and the life of Comrade Edna offers valuable lessons on the kind of values we should emulate as cadres of the ANC.

As we go into campaigning for next year’s National Elections, Comrade Edna’s passion, drive and tirelessness during door-to-door campaigning will be sorely missed. She was kind, compassionate and had an infectious sense of humour – and served the organization unfailingly, despite her heavy and often punishing commitments to her work at national government level.

To the Family, the ANC is united with you in your grief. You have lost a sister, mother, daughter and grandmother. We feel your pain and share in your sorrow. Be comforted by the scriptures; that promise : ‘Happy are those who mourn, God will comfort them.’

Comrade Edna’s name is recorded in the history books –together with the other titans of our revolutionary movement; Mama Albertina Sisulu, Mama Adelaide Tambo; Mama Ruth Mompati, Mama Ruth First, Mama Lilian Ngoyi and Mama Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

You gave your all for your people, and for your country. Your contribution will never be forgotten.

Hamba Kahle Mbokodo! Robala ka Kgotso.


The ANC joins the nation in congratulating COSATU at the successful hosting of its 13th National Congress.  President Ramaphosa, in his capacity as President of the ANC, which is the leader of the Alliance delivered a rousing message and encouraged the Congress to confront critical issues affecting the workers and the economy.  He called on COSATU to bring to the table practical suggestion on tackling issues of mutual interest.

The robust engagements on critical challenges confronting the federation demonstrated COSATU’s resolve to realise its historic mission of “One country one federation.”

The election of Cde Zingiswa Losi as the first female President of COSATU since its inception in 1985 is a milestone that should be celebrated by the nation at large.  In her own words, she captured the sentiment succinctly when she reflected in her closing address, “COSATU is communicating a clear message for the world and the country to know that women within the ranks of this radical trade union movement are ready to take the responsibility at the sharpest end of the struggles for the emancipation of all women in our society. We are gearing ourselves to occupy the front ranks and coalface as the organised and class-conscious detachment of the broader working-class women, which is the primary motive force of the women’s emancipation struggles. We must strengthen and advance women’s struggles at the workplace, in our communities and in the broader political terrain – practical and active involvement in struggles is itself part of the emancipatory process. And together with our progressive allies in our trade union movement we have at this congress built and advanced on the long and proud history of women leadership in the workers’ struggles.Comrades, this should not be an isolated achievement, but part of our sustained and conscious effort of broadening active participation of women at all levels of their unions, and we must seriously take the task of building capacity and ideological training on gender and patriarchy not only for women but also for our male members, shopstewards, officials and leaders.

It is not an exaggeration to say that this class-conscious detachment of organised workers in South Africa in the fold of COSATU is once again making history and opening a new chapter that would go down in our proud historical annals of trade union women leadership. We indeed have a long chain of pioneering trade union leaders – now for over a century – from the militant Mary Fitzgerald, Johanna Cornelius, Ray Alexander Simons, Frances Baard, Liz Abrahams to Charlotte Maxeke, the founder member of the South African Native National Congress, the fore-runner to the ANC and the Bantu Women’s League (ANC WL) and the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) – who in the publication Umteteli wa Bantu sharply raised and addressed the “Woman Question”. These are the icons, heroines and martyrs not only of the working people, but also of the broader working class, that have laid the foundation of our militant trade union movement. Your collective decision in this regard is indeed a tribute to these women leaders, the shop-stewards and countless others who were ordinary members – and all of those who for years tirelessly worked to build strong women leaders inspired by our long-standing battle cry, ‘Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo’.”COSATU’s commitment to a frontal engagement on the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution is a direct response to President Ramaphosa’s call and will no doubt sharpen the country’s perspective and approach in tackling these challenges.

As we prepare ourselves for the Jobs Summmit to tackle the challenge of unemployment and job losses, we cannot agree more with COSATU’s assertion that this Summit must find realistic solutions in creating and sustaining jobs to stimulate our economy.  We are equally under no illusion that chronic unemployment undermines our efforts to effectively deal with our triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

The stimulus package announced by President Ramaphosa gives priority to those areas of economic activity that will have the greatest impact on youth, women and small business.  We have no doubt that this intervention will have a decisive impact in turning our economic fortunes around and sets the stage for creative solutions in addressing the unemployment challenge.



The African Union will at the 73rd United Nations General Assemby call for the continent to allocate two permanent seats on the UN Security Council (UNSC), President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

Ramaphosa made the remark while addressing the diplomatic community accredited to South Africa, among them ambassadors, high commissioners, consuls-general and Chargé D’affaires.

“As we go to this assembly, South Africa will strongly advocate for the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council. We are calling for the expansion in the permanent and non-permanent category of the Security Council from 15 to 26 seats.”

For Africa to be fully represented at the Security Council, President Ramaphosa said it should get no less than two permanent seats and a total of five non-permanent or elected seats.

The position was later reiterated by Dean of Diplomatic Corps and DRC Ambassador Bene M’poko, who said South Africa had the expertise and commitment to the peace agenda based on its past and mediating in issues of conflict in Africa.

In June, South Africa was elected at the United Nations General Assembly to serve as a non-permanent seat in the UNSC for the term 2019-2020.

President Ramaphosa said South Africa would in its two year tenure continue to campaign for a permanent seat.

South Africa, he added, was committed to working with its partners in Africa and across the world to secure outcomes that serve national, bilateral and multilateral interests, “in a manner that reiterates the inescapable reality that the development of South Africa”. This development, he added, is inextricably linked to the African regeneration.

SA, diplomatic partners to strengthen relations

The President further said it was important for South Africa and its diplomatic partners to strengthen relations.

“We live in a time when the world is getting smaller, when new technologies are enabling progress at an unprecedented pace. This is a time when the means to eradicate poverty, unemployment and inequality appear to be well within our grasp.

“South Africa has collaborated actively in bilateral and multilateral efforts to resolve some of the Continent’s recurring conflict situations.”

Investment drive

President Ramaphosa said government was working towards improving the country’s investment environment by ensuring policy certainty and consistency that would see the performance of the economy improve.

“Earlier this year, I announced an investment drive aimed at generating at least $100 billion in new investment over the next five years,” he said. 

The drive will culminate in an Investment Conference to be held in Johannesburg from 25-27 October 2018.

Land reform

Regarding the ongoing land reform debate, President Ramaphosa assured diplomats that this process would be undertaken in an orderly manner that advances economic development. The process would also be in a manner that increased agricultural production and food security, and provides well-located housing for the poor.

“This is one of a series of measures that we are undertaking to accelerate land reform to correct a historical injustice and unlock the economic potential of this valuable resource,” he said. –



Minister Bheki Cele: A safer SA is everyone’s business

Police Minister Bheki Cele lobbied sectors outside law enforcement to join hands with the men and women in blue to stem the tide of crime. Addressing day one of the two-day National Summit on Crime and Violence Prevention in Boksburg, Cele said fighting crime requires an integrated approach from all quarters of South African society, if decent inroads are to be made. Cele again decried the crime statistics which revealed that 57 people are murdered daily. “As the SAPS we urgently need to be seen to be doing something regarding the crime stats. But we want to walk with you; it can’t just be the South African police,” said the Minister, stressing that everyone must be mobilised to be “part of reversing the situation”. 

Labour conducts own investigation into sites after two fatal incidents

The Department of Labour said it will direct more energy in the efforts to improve enforcement of the occupational safety and health regulations. This follows the death of 8 people at the Somerset West Denel plant, following an explosion. It also follows the death of the 3 firefighters who lost their lives while responding to the fire that erupted at The Bank of Lisbon building. All these incidents were preventable. The department has assured workers that it will leave no stone unturned and all those who are found to have flouted the law will be dealt with accordingly.

Upcoming jobs summit to attract investment, tackle poverty

Deputy President David Mabuza said the up and coming jobs summit will ensure that South Africa continues to address the country’s poverty and income inequality. The Deputy President said this when he fielded oral questions in the National Assembly. The Deputy President said the most sustainable way to address the challenge of poverty and inequality lies at the heart of industrialising the economy in order to enhance greater levels of participation by historically disadvantaged economic citizens and marginalised regions of the country. In this regard, government has made significant progress in directing strategic investments towards targeted areas in order to support economic growth and job creation, Mabuza said.

Government committed to 4th Industrial Revolution

Government pledged its commitment to create an enabling environment where innovation geared at the Fourth Industrial Revolution is supported. Speaking at the opening of the South African Innovation Summit (SAIS) the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) Deputy Director-General of Special Economic Transformation, Sipho Zikode, said the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a phenomenon that should be embraced. “The world must embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution because it is a new way of doing business that will be with us for a foreseeable future, and as government and society we should collaborate in creating the enabling environment for entrepreneurs to adapt and adopt the 4IR technologies for the creation of a better life for all,” said Zikode. The South African Innovation Summit is an annual flagship event on the South African innovation calendar that nurtures, develops and showcases African innovation, as well as facilitate innovation thought-leadership.


14 September 1991: The National Peace Accord was signed by all major political organisations. The peace accord called on all political parties to end political violence and lay down their weapons to create an environment conducive for free and fair negotiations.

15 September 1976: The apartheid government began removing 45 000 Bakalobeng tribesmen from a Transvaal area into the Bophuthatswana homeland as part of its policy to assign Black tribes to autonomous areas.

16 September 1963: The final report of the United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid was released. It gave a detailed review of developments in South Africa’s racial policies since 6 November 1962. The report was unanimously approved and published on 18 September 1963.

16 September 1986: 177 mineworkers were killed at Kinross Mine in one of South Africa’s worst mine disasters and 235 workers were injured and one was reported missing. After the disaster, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) complained about low safety standards in the mines and organized a protest.

17 September 1832: About two thousand slave owners met in Cape Town to complain against new slave regulations to be implemented at the Cape, claiming that according to existing regulations the working conditions at the Cape was already better in many respects than conditions of factory workers in Britain.

18 September 1992: More than 70 000 mourners gathered at King William’s Town, to pay their respects to the victims of the Bisho Massacre who were shot dead by the Ciskei Defence Force troops on 7 September 1992.

19 September 1980: The apartheid government handed over Mafeking to the homeland Republic of Bophuthatswana, three years after being granted independence. The town became the seat of the Bophuthatswana government until the new capital, Mmabatho, was developed.

20 September 1994: King Goodwill Zwelithini and the Zulu Royal Family severed all ties with Chief Buthelezi. This followed a stoning by Inkatha Freedom Party youth during a meeting between the King, Buthelezi and President Mandela at the king’s Enyokeni Palace.



7 September 1992: as many as 80,000 protesters gathered outside of Bisho, the then capital city of Ciskei, and demanded an end to the military government of Brigadier Joshua Gqozo and the re-absorption of the so-called black homeland into South Africa.  The Ciskei Defence Force opened fire and continued firing indiscriminately into the crowd for about five minutes using machine guns and rifle grenades. Several young men were shot in the back as they fled.  No warning was issued, and no attempts were made to use non-lethal means to disperse demonstrators.

8 September 1986: a bomb exploded in the ANC office in Stockholm Sweden. The office was severely damaged but nobody was killed. The bombing was part of a broader strategy of the apartheid government in the 1970s and 80s that sought to eliminate or neutralise South African liberation movements and the Anti-Apartheid movement outside the country. Both African and non-African countries that supported Anti-Apartheid movement and the ANC were targeted.

8 September 1991: 13 people were killed and 18 injured in an attack on Soweto residents after the IFP rally at Jabulani Stadium.

9 September 1986: Andrew Sibusiso Zondo was executed at the age of 19 after he was found guilty of a bomb attack in a shopping centre in Amanzimtoti.  Zondo was a member of the ANC’s Butterfly Unit of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK).

10 September 1984: renewed detention orders were issued to members of the United Democratic Front including its President Archibald Gumede. A month earlier, just before the elections for the new Tricameral Parliament the same UDF members had been held without charge.

11 September 1990: in a bid to avert further hiccups in its talks with the ANC, the apartheid government released seven ANC members from prison.

12 September 1989: Advocate Anton Lubowski (37), Secretary-General of SWAPO was shot dead at close range with an AK47 rifle in Windhoek. The Civil Co-Operation Bureau (CCB) was held responsible for the assassination of Lubowski.

13 September 1984: 6 political refugees,  Archie GumedeMewa RamgobinGeorge Sewpersahd, M.J. Naidoo, Billy Nair and Paul David sought refuge in the British consulate in Durban and asked the British government to intervene on their behalf. This left the British government in a difficult position. It could not expel the men into the hands of the police, but it sat with an embarrassing use of their consulate.


President Ramaphosa concludes visit to China

President Cyril Ramaphosa returned to South Africa following his two-pronged visit to the People’s Republic of China where he was hosted on a State Visit and co-chaired the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit. During the State Visit, South Africa and China entered into several agreements, with one agreement alone worth over R14 billion, and signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), that pave the way for economic growth, educational opportunities and job creation in South Africa.

Overwhelming response for NSFAS funding

Cabinet welcomed the overwhelming response from prospective students since the opening of the 2019 National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) applications process. Applications for the student funding opened on Monday. “Over 45 000 potential and current students logged onto the NSFAS website on the first day. Progress has also been made to clear the backlog of outstanding payments to students,” Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Thursday. The application process is based on a new system which makes funding decisions quicker and applications are now easily filled in by students regardless of their location.

President Ramaphosa authorises new SIU investigations

President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate suspected wrongdoing by public servants and persons or entities in the private sector in the awarding of tenders or contracts by the national Department of Water and Sanitation and the Ekurhuleni and Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipalities. The latest proclamations signed by President Ramaphosa complement a number of investigations called for by the President since his undertaking in the February 2018 State of the Nation Address that “this is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions”.


SA companies confident of accessing Peruvian markets

South African companies on a trade and investment mission to Peru are confident that their products and services will find a market in the South American country. The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is currently leading a group of local companies on an Outward Selling Mission (OSM) to the South American country’s capital, Lima.

The local companies are impressed about the countless trade leads and valuable market information they have obtained in the first two days of the mission.




27 August 2018

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, announced a process aimed at assisting students in trouble with the law as a consequence of the 2016 #FeesMustFall protests.  The ANC welcomed this intervention and urged all involved to exercise patience and allow relevant legal processes to unfold, while urging government to move with the requisite speed in bringing finality to the matter.  The ANC has, since its inception, 106 years ago, been committed to the realisation of free education. This is well articulated in the freedom charter and many of its founding policy documents.



29 August 2018

As the nation was reeling from reports of sale of expired and fake food products to unsuspecting consumers, sporadic incidents of violence targeting small informal shops operated mostly by foreign nationals in our townships were reported.  The ANC expressed alarm at this phenomenon and called for swift action by authorities to ensure that such products are removed from the shelves and those found to have wilfully placed people’s lives at harm’s way should face the might of the law.  The ANC similarly called for calm and urged communities not to take the law into their own hands, and allow law enforcement authorities to do their work.  Swift action by the City of Ekurhuleni of conducting inspections and removing such products was commended as exemplary and should be replicated across the country.  The ANC committed to championing the campaign of community activism and encouraged communities to blow the whistle on those who violate the country’s laws governing packaging and sale of food products, wherever it occurs, whether at large retail chains or informal shops in our townships.  Such campaign will be conducted in a responsible manner, in partnership with relevant authorities, and discouraging vigilantism.



30 August 2018

Following the vote of no confidence at the Nelson Mandela Bay which saw the removal of the incumbent DA mayor and a similar vote of no confidence on the cards at the Tshwane Metro, the ANC articulated its perspective on coation governments in the Metros.  The ANC’s approach to coalitions is based on a long-term perspective informed by its commitment to transform South Africa into a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society. In this regard, it is the ANC’s firm conviction that local government in the cities, towns and rural areas should be guided by the constitutional mandate to provide basic services to communities, stimulate local economic growth and development and, generally, contribute to the improvement of the lives of citizens, especially the poor.  This commitment is grounded on the principles of non-racialism, good governance, ethical conduct and effective leadership.  In pursuit of the immediate stabilisation of both the Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane metros where these alliances have collapsed, the ANC has decided to work with parties that share its immediate aims and that are committed to placing these municipalities on a path of recovery, to resolve the immediate challenges. As the ANC traverses this path, it is committed to exercising maximum vigilance to ensure that it is not beholden to any perverse political and material interests. 




I am still numb due to the devastating news that my mother, comrade, mentor and leader is no more. As days go by I seem not to shake off this niggling feeling that it is just a dream as the larger-than-life Mama Winnie is one not to die. However, there is one part of me that also tells me that, in as much as she defied death on a number of occasions, she is also mortal. Still, the reality has not sunk and I am living with the hope that I will one more time see the smile on the glowing face of Mama Winnie and I will hear that infectious laughter of a loving mother and a gallant fighter for freedom and democracy.

I am shattered as I had always looked forward to one of those immemorial and priceless opportunity to draw from your well of wisdom and courage especially given the challenges that our movement, the African National Congress and our country are facing. Mama Winnie, you are one of a kind. A true revolutionary that stood steadfastly for justice, equality and freedom for all. You were forthright and principled. Whilst facing adversity, like a true lioness, you did not only stubbornly fended off attacks on your children (and these include some of us) but charged forward in pursuit of a better life for all our people. You epitomized selflessness as you would not mind putting your life on the line for the freedom of others.

Your motherly love and instincts were unmistakable as you would take care of not only your children but everyone who needed care as though they are children of your own. Indeed, you are a Baobab tree that provided protection from the scorching African sun and other unforgiving elements. Never one to retreat, you would confront the apartheid regime and its surrogates with an untold fearlessness and vigour and this is what inspired old and young to pick up the spear when liberation movements were banned, leaders detained or imprisoned or even forced into exile.

Whilst distressed, I take solace in the rich legacy you have left us. A legacy of selflessness, altruism and service to our people that we need to promote and preserve. You stood steadfast and your commitment and dedication to the struggle against the inhuman apartheid colonialism and for freedom and democracy was unshakeable. This is a characteristic that made you to survive persecution, detentions, banishment and even vilification.  You never retreated, you were never broken no matter how hard the apartheid regime tried to break your spirit and you knew no surrender as you led, from the front, battles against the racist police and army who at most times turned our townships and villages into military and police barracks. 

A community builder at heart, Mama Winnie was always on the look out for opportunities to develop her community. Adversity notwithstanding, you created an opportunity to uplift that community when you were banished to Brandfort. It is no coincidence that you studied social work as your life was about the welfare of your people. You served our people a social worker, albeit for a short while due to continued repression, with distinction. As fate would have it, you were drawn into active politics when it became almost impossible for you to continue practicing as a social worker due to apartheid police harassment.

Having cut her political teeth in women struggles against the repressive pass laws, Mama Winnie dedicated her entire life to the struggles against apartheid and for freedom and democracy. The more the repression, the more committed she became and the sentencing of Cde Nelson Mandela and other leaders to life imprisonment on Robben Island only served to sharpen her resolve to liberate her people. You became one of the most vociferous voice for the release of political prisoners hence the Release Mandela Campaign gained traction internationally to the point where the apartheid regime could not ignore the clamour for the release of Cde Madiba and other political prisoners.


Your fiery nature and unmistakable defiance in the face of repression angered the racist regime as their relentless efforts failed to crush your revolutionary spirit. It is not surprising that your modest Brandfort house was petrol bombed and no one has ever been arrested or even charged for that crime. You took this desperate attempt to cow you into submission in your strides hence you decided to come back home to Soweto in a courageous and open defiance to one of the most ruthless regime in history. Your defiance continued unabated as you ignored your banning order and spoke at public gatherings and to the international media and this galvanized our people into action against a system that the world declared a crime against humanity.

Your contribution to our liberation struggle continued as you led countless mass actions that led to our country becoming ungovernable and the apartheid system unworkable. Even beyond the democratic breakthrough in 1994 you continued to contribute towards the transformation of our country. With an incisive mind and brutal honesty, you spoke your mind having no regard to the consequences of your honesty and forthrightness. 

The outpouring of love that our country is demonstrating since your passing bears testimony to your selflessness and commitment to serving our people. Indeed, you loved your people and you were always there with us.  

Your life is and will remain an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived and to all who are opposed to oppression, injustice and deprivation. You are a symbol of the struggle against apartheid and all forms of racism an inequality; the gallant fighter against patriarchy and for equality and the hero of African liberation. We will miss you but we take solace in the legacy of love, giving and selfless service that you left. 

As we bid you farewell, we will remember your courageous and inspiring words when you said: “I shall never lose hope and my people shall never lose hope”. 

Indeed, Mama we shall never lose hope. We shall fight until all South Africans have a better life.

Lala ngoxolo qhawe la maqhawe!

Cde Paul Mashatile is the Treasurer General of the African National Congress