Nelson Mandela Bay ANC stalwart Ivy Gcina dies
Eastern Cape ANC stalwart Ivy Cikizwa Gcina died on Thursday after a long illness.
In a statement, ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi described Nelson Mandela Bay activist Gcina, 84, as a dedicated party member, who had played her part in the fight against the apartheid.
“Ivy Gcina was orphaned at a very young age and got her primary education through a church school.
“She joined the ANC Youth League in the 1950s, active in bus boycotts and protests against Bantu education.
“Her own children were born when the organisations were banned and to ensure their political consciousness, she got her uncle to write out the Freedom Charter from memory — it was entirely prohibited to be printed in those days,” he said.
After the 1976 Soweto student uprising, Gcina committed herself to the revival of Federation of South African Women.
When the Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation (Pebco) was established, she headed the women’s committee and, in 1983, was elected the first Port Elizabeth Women’s Organisation chair.
“Among activists, Ivy Gcina was notable for courage and her steadfastness in adversity,” Ngcukayitobi said.
“Not only was she frequently detained and assaulted, but her house was petrol-bombed and even at one point sprayed with acid.
“Mamu Gcina was severely tortured through beatings and suffocation by named members of the security police in Port Elizabeth during the state of emergency in July 1985.
“She was again detained from June 1986 to June 1987.
She lost three of her sons in the struggle, two in combat and the other one in exile.
“In fact, four of her sons were combatants of Umkhonto WeSizwe.”
Ngcukayitobi said Gcina was not only a political leader but a mother figure for many anti-apartheid activists
“It was a combination of these two qualities, political and parental roles, that made it possible for her to be a leader of the UDF.”
Gcina was an MP after the 1994 elections and retired in 2004.
Ngcukayitobi described Gcina's death as a big loss not only to her family but the ANC and SA as well.
“While the family has lost a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, the ANC and the country have lost an irreplaceable leader, a role model and a constant reminder of dedication and selflessness.
“She embodied grace and humility,” he said.
“We wish to extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the Gcina family and the people of Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape for the loss of a caring mother, grandmother and an epitome of moral values, human dignity, respect and revolutionary discipline.”
“In this difficult time, we must all find comfort in knowing that her sacrifice and kind deeds have contributed immensely in the creation of a better life for all our people.”
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