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South African struggle hero, Mama Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe has died

‘Mother of Azania’ dies at 91

One of the oldest living struggle icons hailed by some as an unsung hero and widow of  PAN African Congress founder, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe died on Wednesday, according to a statement released by her family. The 91 year-old freedom fighter had reportedly been in and out of hospital and succumbed to illness at a Graaff-Reinet hospital, a town in the Eastern Cape.

Tributes have poured in on social media with members of the public expressing their sadness but also emphasizing the role we have to play in remembering and honouring her legacy.

A Sobukwe family representative shares: "The Sobukwe family is deeply grateful for the gift of her life and the innumerable lesson she leaves behind, and even as we mourn her passing, we celebrate her humility and the simplicity with which she approached and viewed life. Indeed, a Great Tree has fallen!" 

As a former nurse, Sobukwe played a pivotal role in highlighting the plight of black nurses in the Eastern Cape during the struggle. She was one of many wives and mothers at the time who kept homesteads looked after and selflessly served the community despite having husbands who were arrested and exiled under the Apartheid government.

Leader of the PAC Narius Moloto shared his thoughts on the late struggle stalwart’s sacrifices:

"She never wavered, she raised the children alone because her husband was in prison or under house arrest.

Below are some of the Twitter tributes from prominent South African figures:

There is no doubt that her passing is a great loss to both her family and fellow South Africans. She was by many standards a remarkably poised leader, who fought with strength and conviction. It is important that we honour her legacy and the indelible role she played in fighting for democracy.


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