ANC STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF MRS LINDIWE MABUZA, VETERAN DIPLOMAT, POET, FEMINIST, FREEDOM FIGHTER AND CULTURAL ACTIVIST
Another giant tree has fallen. The African National Congress (ANC) learned with deep sadness of the passing of former Ambassador comrade Lindiwe Mabuza (13 August 1938- 6 December 2021), at her home, surrounded by her family. Our sincerest condolences to her family, loved ones, friends and comrades.
Born in Newcastle, KZN in 1938, she studied at Roma University in Lesotho and after graduation, went on to teach English and isiZulu literature. Her commitment to the written word saw her five volumes of poetry, short stories and a children’s book. To Quincy, is one of her longest poems that was published in Feminist Studies in 1995.
Mme Lindiwe a freedom fighter and comrade in her own name and right joined the ANC in 1975 and became a journalist for our organization’s Radio Freedom, based in Lusaka. Her concern with women’s issues led to her involvement with Voice of the Women (VOW), the ANC’s feminist journal, which encouraged women to write poetry.
The VOW gave women a forum and voice to express themselves. These stories were later published in a collection in 1980 under the title Malibongwe. She is the co-editor of Oliver Tambo Remembered, a tribute to one of South Africa’s
Through her role as Chairperson of the ANC Cultural Committee from 1977 to 1979, Mme Lindiwe Mabuza gave expression to her creative and artistic spirit. In an interview in 1995 she stated: “Poetry is part of the struggle. You use the armed struggle; you use political methods…. You recite a poem. It’s better than a three-hour speech. It gets to the heart of the matter. It moves people.”
Along with Jonas Gwangwa, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Man ‘Santana’ Ntombela, Barbara Masekela, Thami Mnyele, and others, she supported the work of the ANC’s Amandla! Cultural Ensemble, formed in 1978. She was an instrumental participant in the Culture and Resistance Conference held in 1982 in Gaborone, Botswana, attended by more than
1,000 cultural workers, 800 of whom were South Africans, coming together to strengthen the cultural boycott against apartheid.
She was assigned by President OR Tambo to open the first ANC representative office for Scandinavia in 1979. and became the first ANC Chief representative to these countries, based in Sweden. She worked closely with Swedish Prime Minister Olaff Palmer, and led effective campaigns to garner support for the liberation struggle in South Africa.
As a result, the apartheid regime in September 1986 bombed the ANC offices in Stockholm, a few months after the assignation of comrade Olaff Palme in February of the same year.
Mme Lindiwe was transferred to the United States to become ANC Chief Representative late 1986, where she continued to rally support, organising anti-apartheid boycotts and rallies, and putting pressure on major companies to withdraw their investments from South Africa, working closely with Americans such as Rev Jess Jackson, singer Harry Belafonte, boxing champion Muhammed Ali and actor Jane Fonda.
She became one of the pioneer Members of Parliament in the first democratic, non-racial and non-sexist legislature, after the 1994 elections, before joining the South African diplomatic corps. Her Excellency, Mme Lindiwe Mabuza served as South African Ambassador to Germany, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, and the United Kingdom and Ireland. She was also a college-level educator, radio journalist, an editor, as well as a prolific poet and short-story writer. Almost all these callings pointed towards one goal, which was to abolish apartheid in South Africa.
Throughout her life, MmeLindiwe Mabuza was a cultural activist. She received numerous awards, including an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Durban-Westville in 1993, the Yari Yari Award for contributions to Human Rights and Literature from the New York University in 1997, and in 2004, the South African National Order of Ikhamanga in Silver, for her tireless work as a cultural and arts ambassador.
She served on the Advisory Board of Elders of the Ifa Lethu Foundation, which repatriates South African artworks; as patron of Dramatic Need, a UK-based charity promoting arts for children, and an advisory Council Member of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.
At the time of her passing, she was editing another book of reflections on relations between the ANC and Sweden during the anti-apartheid struggle.
Lala Ngoxolo, Her Excellency Mme Lindiwe Mabuza.
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
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