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Mama Sobukwe's memorial service to be held in Graaff-Reinet

Aug 22, 2018
Mama Sobukwe's memorial service to be held in Graaff-Reinet

Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, the widow of Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) founder, Professor Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, who died last week, will be remembered by the Eastern Cape Government at her Memorial Service to be held in Graaff-Reinet on Wednesday.

She will be buried on Saturday in Graaff-Reinet.

Her final service and funeral was declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa as a Special Official Funeral Category two.

"This category is for 'Distinguished persons specifically designated by the President of the Republic of South Africa'.

"A great pan-Africanist freedom fighter, philosopher, intellectual, icon, a great thinker, comrade, Struggle heroine, educationist, veteran has fallen," said DSRAC spokesperson, Andile Nduna.

Mama Sobukwe was a student nurse at Victoria Hospital, in Alice, and later also worked there as a nurse.

Victoria Hospital was the first hospital to offer nursing studies to blacks aspiring nurses. On the 28th September 2018, this renowned hospital will be 120 years old. 

"'Mother of Azania’, as Mama Sobukwe was appropriately known, was born of farming parents, Kate Mathe and Stini Mathe, in Vryheid, Kwazulu-Natal, she had her first experiences of and direct confrontations with racism at an early age, consistently challenging ruthless authorities and calling for justice on numerous occasions throughout her life," said Nduna.

"In her youth, she participated in and led protest marches against racist conditions imposed on trainee black nurses at Victoria hospital in Alice. Her leadership of this protest march resulted in her later meeting with Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, the then students’ representative council president at the University of Fort Hare.” 

Earlier this year, Mama Sobukwe was bestowed an Order of Luthuli in Silver for her tenacious call for freedom of the people and steadfast support of incarcerated freedom fighters.  

Robert Sobukwe died in 1978.