It is with deep regret and a profound sense of loss that the African National Congress has learnt of the passing away of Mamu Veronica Sobukwe in the early hours of this morning (15 August 2018 ),widow of the late PAC President Robert Sobukwe and an outstanding stalwart of the liberation struggle.
The ANC joins all South Africans in mourning the loss of a true heroine of our nation, a daughter of our soil who dedicated her life to the freedom of our people.She was recently awarded the Order of Luthuli by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Born Zondeni Veronica Mathe on 27 July 1927 in Hlobane in Natal, she got married to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe on the 6 June 1954 and, in line with African tradition and matrimonial rites of passage, she received the customary nuptial name of Nosango. She bore four children: Miliswa, Dinilesizwe, Dalindyebo and Dedanizizwe.
Mama Sobukwe fiercely challenged the then Minister of Justice, Balthazar Johannes Voster, about the conditions surrounding the incarceration of her husband on Robben Island, requesting several meetings which were never honoured. Instead, Voster referred Mama Sobukwe to the then Minister of Justice, Petrus Cornelius Pelser, who in turn maintained the status quo, rejecting all her appeals.
As a health practitioner and an activist in her own right, she single-handedly advocated for the release of Robert Sobukwe from Robben Island, bringing his deteriorating health to the fore. She wrote several letters to the white supremacist government demanding his release. And when all her efforts failed, she appealed to Voster to allow Sobukwe to leave South Africa permanently on an exit permit together with his family. Voster refused, and Mama Sobukwe asked that she be allowed to stay on Robben Island with Sobukwe, to oversee his health herself. Of course, the racist Voster refused.
Throughout the most difficult times of the struggle for democracy, Mamu Veronica Sobukwe`s strength, compassion and determination served as inspiration to generations of freedom fighters.
In a lifetime dedicated to the achievement of South Africa`s liberation, Mamu Sobukwe demonstrated fortitude in the face of adversity and responded selflessly to the sacrifices demanded of her and her family.
The ANC extends its heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and the PAC family as we mourn our Mbokodo.
May Her Soul Rest in Peace.
Issued by :
ANC EC Provincial Secretary
Cde Lulama Ngcukayitobi
ANC Media & Liaison Officer
Mobile No: 0636878267/0731176194
ANC Communications Manager