Respected trade unionist and human rights activist Emma Mashinini’s funeral has been declared a special provincial official funeral by President Jacob Zuma, his office announced today.
Mashinini, 87, died on Monday and a memorial service was held in Johannesburg earlier today.
Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners, including union leaders, gathered at the City Life Baptist Church in Quigney, East London, today to pay tribute at a memorial service of yet another wellk-known activist, the late Nehawu provincial chairman Makhi Clay.
Clay died last week after he collapsed while attending the National Education Health and Allied Union’s national elective conference in Johannesburg. He was hospitalized at Linmed Hospital in Johannesburg for a week before he met his untimely death.
Mashinini was a recipient of the Order of the Baobab and the Order of Luthuli. She served in various leadership roles in the National Union of Clothing Workers (NUCW) and in 1975, founded the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU).
Zuma’s spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said Mashini would be remembered “for her fearless leadership in advancing the struggle of the working class during the era of the apartheid regime.”
“The President has ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in Gauteng province on Saturday, the day of the funeral,” added Ngqulunga.
His comrade, Nehawu provincial secretary Micky Jaceni, said they were paying tribute to a man whose memory “invokes admiration, respect, love and honour by union and COSATU members”.