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Thando Sipuye is an executive member of the Africentrik Study Group at the University of Sobukwe (Fort Hare). He is currently a History Masters Candidate at the Govan Mbeki Research & Development Centre under the South African Research Chairs Initiative at the University of Sobukwe (Fort Hare). He writes in his personal capacity.

Sobukwe Family Mourns Passing of Mama Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe

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Graaff-Reinet – It is with deep sense of loss, pain and profound sadness that we inform the public that struggle stalwart, Mrs. Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, passed away at age 91 at her home in Graaff- Reinet, South Africa, on Wednesday, 15th August 2018.

She transcended after a short illness, for which she had been hospitalized in July, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, surrounded by her family, after being discharged from Midlands hospital.

Mrs. Zondeni Sobukwe, affectionately known as the ‘Mother of Azania’, was one of the most defiant and fearless icons of the struggle against racism-white supremacy in South Africa; she fought valiantly against the apartheid state apparatus and epitomized the dictum of the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania: “serve, suffer and sacrifice”.

Born of farming parents, Kate Mathe and Stini Mathe, in Vryheid, Kwazulu-Natal, she had her first experiences of and direct confrontations with racism, the apartheid state and police at an early age, consistently challenging ruthless authorities and calling for justice on numerous occasions throughout her life.

In her youth she participated 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 (SRC) President at the University of Fort Hare.

Following the Sharpeville Uprising on 21 March 1960, Mama Sobukwe fiercely challenged the regime on the unjust conditions surrounding Robert Sobukwe’s incarceration under the draconian Sobukwe Clause, remained a backbone for her family and sacrificed her life for freedom and the vision of a liberated Azania (SA).

Although largely unknown, silenced and erased from public memory and national consciousness, she dedicated most of her adult life to the cause of the Azanian people and, for this, was known far and wide as the ‘Mother of Azania’.

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!

The Sobukwe family will release details of the memorial and funeral services once these have been finalized.

Contact Details
For more information, media queries and interviews please contact the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Trust’s Programme Coordinator, Mr. Thando Sipuye, via email: tsipuye@gmail.com or call 060 454 4949.

For more information about the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Trust (RMST) contact us via email: dtsobukwe@gmail.com or robertsobukwetrust@gmail.com or call 049 891 1007 / 079 392 7552.

Like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Robert-Mangaliso-Sobukwe-Trust-1546578082335652/

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