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Death Of a Passionate Woman Mourned

Sibusiso Nxumalo

WOMEN across the country marked Women’s Day by mourning the death of ANC MP Feroza Adam, credited with inspiring and uniting women across race and class divisions as a tireless worker for women’s rights.

Adam (33) died on Monday night in Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital after a car accident last Saturday.

The former convenor of the National Women’s Coalition in the PWV was buried according to Muslim rites in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

A long-time friend and associate, PWV Minister of Safety and Security Jessie Duarte, said: “Feroza had strong views about women’s role being changed, and believed that women had to have direct involvement in society. Her strength was her ability to involve people of all persuasions.”

A teacher by profession, Adam’s involvement in politics began when she was a student at Wits University and a member of the Azanian Students’ Organisation. But it was about the mobilisation of women that Adam was most passionate, said Duarte.

She was elected an executive member of the Federation of Transvaal Women in 1982, signalling the beginning of a long involvement with the women’s movement, and was also involved in United Democratic Front and Mass Democratic Movement structures.

By 1985 she was involved with Duarte in discussions about the formation of a national coalition of women and was on the steering committee that finally brought the coalition into being.

Another friend, Nomvula Monkonyane, said if not for Adam she would not now be a member of the PWV legislature. Adam used her skills to impart what she knew to others, said Monkonyane. “She never looked down on anyone. The fact that she was made convener of the NWC in the PWV shows that women regarded Feroza not as Indian, young or ANC but rather as a fighter for South African women.”

Duarte said Adam had a no-holds barred approach to life, while an ANC tribute noted that while she was known as an extremely hard worker “she also liked having a good time”.

But, Duarte said, Adam had great compassion: “She was empathetic and she put herself out to help people.”

When Monkonyane’s house was bombed in 1992, Adam put her up in her Berea flat for five months and helped her get psycholgical help to deal with the trauma.

“Feroza was a woman who stood up against it all: male domination, racial and religious prejudice.

“South African women must initiate something to remember her by,” said Monkonyane.

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