Kadalie was born in District Six in 1953 and was the granddaughter of SA’s first black trade unionist, Clements Kadalie.
Her successor at UWC's gender equity unit, Dr Mary Hames, described Kadalie as “fierce and fearless”.
“What she has done for women, not only at the university, but countrywide, is immeasurable,” said Hames.
Her work saw gender and sexual harassment policies developed at the university as well as equal pay. She was at the forefront of successfully campaigning for maternity and paternity benefits for academics, equal housing benefits, and the promotion of women in the academic hierarchy.
Kadalie, who had completed her arts degree at UWC, also fought for women to be promoted to professorships and for female representation in leadership bodies.
“There was a time when there were hardly any non-governmental organisations in SA that didn't have a former student of Rhoda's fighting for women's rights and feminism,” Hames said.
The university said: “We have lost an influential giant who made a telling contribution — not only to UWC but to the broader liberation of women in our society and through her tireless pursuit of human rights and dignity.”