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Activist Lydia Komape-Ngwenya laid to rest

A social and political activist, Lydia Komape-Ngwenya was on Saturday laid to rest in her home province of Limpopo after serving most of her years in Gauteng and the Western Cape province. Her funeral proceeding were held at Tsimanyane Sports ground in the Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality.

The Special Provincial Official Funeral Category 2, was attended by Ministers, MECs, EFF Commander in Chief, National Executive Council members and community members among others.
Mam Lydia as she was affectionately known, passed away on the 11th of October at the age of 88. Born and raised in the then Northern Transvaal (Limpopo) she moved to Johannesburg in the mid 1970s, after drooping out of school when she was in grade 9 to look for employment where she became one of the few senior women in the Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU), This is after she recruited more than 600 workers under difficult apartheid laws where she was dismissed, after playing a significant role to the Soweto uprising students strike.

She served as a National Assembly member from 1994 to 2009 . Her vast experience at the national level, saw her playing an active role by serving as a member of the Limpopo Provincial Legislature from 2009 to 2019 before her retirement in the same year.

Her bravery, resilience and advocacy to see transformation in rural areas ripped fruits as she founded Rural Women’s Movement (RWM) creating a platform to attract attention to women’s issues.

In 2009, President Kgalema Motlanthe awarded Mam Lydia with Order of Luthuli in Bronze, for her commitment to workers rights, empowerment of rural women and liberation of people from the harsh arm of the apartheid govement.

In 2002 she was awarded an Honorary Masters Degree of Arts for her outstanding contribution to society in empowering rural people and their struggles by the university of Witwatersrand (WITS).

Delivering the eulogy, Premier Stanley Chupu Mathabatha recognised the impact that Komape had on social and political justice for women in the rural areas.

“Mam Lydia’s name has become synonymous with our ongoing struggle to dismantle the legacy of colonial and apartheid oppression altogether, to ensure the complete economic and social emancipation of our people.

She understood that advocating for women’s rights advances the national democratic revolution, because women experienced oppression in multiple ways. In the memory of Komape let us condemn and support decisive action when taken against those who perpetuate the oppression of women, gender based violence, child abuse and discrimination against members of the LGBTIQ-plus community.”

Mam Lydia leaves behind two daughters, 11 grandchildren and 21 great grand children. She will be remembered for her contribution and the impact she made in her local communities including the role she played during the apartheid era that shaped the South African democracy.

By: Emmaculate Cindi

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