9 June 2014

South Africa: Hamba Kahle Mambeki - Farewell to an Independent Thinker and Fearless Activist


Being an independent woman and thinker in a patriarchal society often meant that MamoTseki, Nomaka Epainette Mbeki (nee Moerane), MaMbeki was read through the lens of her husband, Govan and her son, Thabo.

In many ways, this "invisibility" suited MaMbeki's temperament. She did not care about newspaper headlines. It was also not rubbing shoulders with the kings and wealthy of the world that defined her.

It was with her neighbours in the village of Mbewuleni, and from 1974 in Ngcingwane, that she fulfilled herself. NOMBONISO GASA pays tribute to a true South African pioneer who died on 7 June at the age of 98.

The harsh landscape of Mbewuleni carries in its crevices the secrets, hopes, tears and idealism of a young couple who moved there to make an independent existence in the 1940s. Like so many other activists of their time, MamoTseki, Nomaka Epainette Mbeki (nee Moerane) and her husband, Govan Mbeki, knew that dependence on government salaries would render them vulnerable.

The couple could easily lose their positions and salaries. Their move to Mbewuleni was also inspired by their commitment to working with and understanding the "peasants' existence", a subject close to both their hearts and captured in ...

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