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ANC stalwart Ruth Mompati dies

Ruth Mompati, 89, died in the early hours of Tuesday, 12 May 2015, after an illness.

Mompati was born in Tlapeng village, near Vryburg, in the North West on September 14, 1925.

She started working as a teacher in the area in 1944 but her teaching career was curtailed in 1952 when she got married and had her employment terminated under apartheid laws.

She later relocated to Soweto where she worked as a typist for Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo at their law firm and became an active member of the ANC.

During this period, she became a member of the ANC Women’s League National Executive Committee, became involved in the 1952 Defiance Campaign and helped form the Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw).

She was among the organisers of the historic women’s anti-pass law march to the Union Buildings on August 9 1956, alongside Helen Joseph, Lillian Ngoyi and Gertrude Shope.

In 1962 she went into exile and received military training in the Soviet Union. She then served the ANC, most notably in the presidents office, and Fedsaw in Europe and on the African continent, including in Tanzania and Zambia. In the early 80s, she served as an ANC representative in the United Kingdom, and was to later form part of the delegation that opened talks with the South African government at Groote Schuur in 1990.

On 10 August 1992, a day after the anniversary of the historic Women’s March to Pretoria in 1956, she addressed the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid in New York on matters affecting women.

In 1994, she was elected among a first generation of ANC MPs to the National Assembly, where she served until 1996 before being posted to Switzerland as an ambassador for four years.

She returned in 2000 to Naledi municipality in Vryburg to serve as mayor until May 2010.

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February 2017 Edition

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