Thank you eternally, Mme Sobukwe

Zondeni Veronica and Robert Sobukwe (Photo: Thando Sipuye/ University of Sobukwe)

Zondeni Veronica and Robert Sobukwe (Photo: Thando Sipuye/ University of Sobukwe)

For the month of August, the Friday pages are focusing on women in South African history, from the women of the Federation of South African Womento women of the liberation movement, as carriedin last week’s edition.

One of the stories we have been working on is that of Mme Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, the wife of founding leader of the Pan Africanist Congress Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, who celebrated her 91st birthday on July 27.It was with sadness that in the midst of our research about her, we learned of her death earlier this week.

Mme Sobukwe was admitted to hospital in Graaff-Reinet, where she lived. “The Mother of Azania” as she was referred to, is lauded for her largely undocumented contribution to the liberation movement, which began in her youth when she participated in protest marches against the racist conditions imposed on trainee black nurses at Victoria Hospital in Alice. Her involvement continued throughout her life, notably after the incarceration of her husband following the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960.

She is remembered for her courage in the face of the brutal apartheid regime, which ruptured her family by isolating and imprisoning her husband until his death in 1978. In next week’s edition, a tribute to yet another woman who should not have suffered will honour the life of Mme Sobukwe.

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