WATCH | Tributes pour in for Zondeni Sobukwe

Struggle stalwart Zondeni Sobukwe has died on August 15 2018. Tributes have poured in for Zondeni, who was married to Pan Africanist Congress founder Robert Sobukwe.

Pan Africanist Congress founder Robert Sobukwe’s widow‚ Zondeni‚ died in the early hours of Wednesday morning after a long illness.

She had turned 91 in July.

PAC president Narius Moloto told TimesLIVE that Zondeni died in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape‚ where the mom of four had lived a quiet life out of the limelight.

“I can confirm that at around 2am‚ Mama Sobukwe died. We are sorry and saddened by her passing and wish to pass our condolences to the family‚” Moloto said.

He said Zondeni had been admitted to hospital six weeks ago.

“We will honour her for her contribution in the (anti-apartheid) struggle. She contributed to the struggle by supporting her husband‚ Robert‚ through thick and thin.

“When Robert was arrested‚ she was there. It was her who was supporting him and raising their children while he was incarcerated.”

Moloto said the PAC leadership would meet on Wednesday to discuss Zondeni’s memorial service and funeral arrangements.

“A struggle stalwart in her own right‚ she endured pain‚ rejection and immense suffering visited on her by the racist apartheid regime which she overtly challenged through her writings‚ demanding the release of her husband who was incarcerated by the illegitimate regime‚” the ANC said in a statement.

The EFF also paid tribute to Zondeni Sobukwe and said had endured “hell” as a result of her husband’s activism.

Zondeni Sobukwe received the Order of Luthuli this year for her tenacious fight for freedom and her steadfast support of incarcerated freedom fighters‚ according to the citation. She challenged the injustices meted out against the majority of South Africans‚ it continued.

Her husband died of lung cancer complications in 1978. The two had met at the University of Fort Hare.

Born Zondeni Veronica Mathe‚ she had four children: Miliswa‚ Dinilesizwe‚ Dalindyebo and Dedanizizwe‚ according to Thando Sipuye‚ an executive member of the Africentrik Study Group at Fort Hare‚ who paid tribute to her last year to commemorate her 90th birthday.

“Mama Sobukwe epitomises the collective experiences of many other Black women throughout the African continent and diaspora‚ whose roles and contributions to the liberation struggle remain unacknowledged‚ unrecognized in popular historical narratives‚ biographical memory and national consciousness‚” he wrote.

“The life story of this indomitable woman is one marked by constant neglect‚ pain and erasure‚” said Sipuye.