South Africa honours female freedom fighters


24 August 2015

KwaZulu-Natal is to unveil three statues of female South African struggle stalwarts.

KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu said on Saturday that the statue of Margaret Mncadi would be unveiled in Ixopo in September, the statue of Victoria Mxenge in Umlazi in November, and that of Dorothy Nyembe in Durban in December.

Mchunu made the announcement while addressing more than 2 000 people at a woman’s celebration in Esikhaleni, outside Empangeni.

He also took the opportunity to call on men to be more caring towards women and girls. “Men must also be humble to women and respect them in the same way they respect other men,” he said.

Margaret Mncadi

Mncadi was a political activist who became the first president of the African National Congress Women’s League in KwaZulu-Natal.

She led a protest march in 1959 and campaigned against the pass laws in the province. According to South African History Online, she was named in the Treason Trial but was not prosecuted. She went into exile in Swaziland in 1960.

Victoria Mxenge

After the death of her anti-apartheid activist husband, Griffiths Mxenge, Mxenge studied law and joined the legal practice he had set up.

She intervened in cases in which the youth were ill-treated while imprisoned and was part of the defence team in the 1984 treason trial against leaders of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) in the Pietermaritzburg Supreme Court.

Mxenge started a bursary fund in memory of her husband, recounts South African History Online. She became a member of the Release Nelson Mandela Committee (RMC), the National Organisation of Women (NOW) and the Natal Treasurer of the UDF.

In 1985, she was attacked and murdered at her home in Durban.

Dorothy Nyembe

Nyembe joined the ANC in 1952 and became a volunteer in the Defiance Campaign in Durban. She helped to set up the ANC Women’s League in Cato Manor. South African History Online explains that on 9 August 1956, she led the Natal contingent of women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the introduction of passes for women.

She was part of the Natal Women’s Revolt during the 1960s, and became a member of NOW during the 1980s. She passed away in December 1998.

Source: News24Wire and SAinfo reporter