Zolani Sinxo
3 minute read
30 May 2019
1:23 pm

Community pays last respects to struggle hero

Zolani Sinxo

Meita Nontinam Leholo was a struggle veteran who played a significant role in getting education for black children in George.

The late Mme Leholo. Images: Supplied

The community of Thembalethu paid their last respects to Meita Nontinam Leholo, who passed away on May 11 after a short illness. Leholo, who was simply known as Mme Leholo to friends, comrades, and community members, was buried on Saturday, reports George Herald.

Leholo was a struggle veteran who lived through apartheid and the enforcement of apartheid laws from 1952 to 1966, which included forced removals from Wellington to Mbekweni in Paarl.

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During this period, her brother, Nicholas Ggibile Hans, was sentenced to Robben Island in 1966 and was further condemned to death in 1967 for his involvement in the Poqo activities in Paarl. These were some of the events said to have motivated Leholo to join the liberation struggle.

She played a significant role in getting education for black children in George, first at Urbansville and later at MM Mateza primary schools, together with the likes of Kraai Katrin Fatima, Victor Qumse, Bityi Nomajuda, and Qhwatyashe Bin, to name a few.

According to a tribute written by an Umkhonto we Sizwe military veteran (MK), Leholo was present at a meeting that demarcated Thembalethu from George Municipality in October 1985.

The meeting, which was held in Conville, placed Thembalethu under the provincial administration of the Western Cape. The tribute states that she was against this move and soon a motion was passed demanding the immediate resignation of all local councillors.

Leholo was instrumental in the boycotts against the forceful removal of Lawaaikamp people during the implementation of the Group Areas Act.

Together with others, she formed the George Civic Association in March 1986 and in May 1986 they launched the George Women’s Organisation. She also formed a number of organisations to fight apartheid and improve the lives of black people in George.

She was a leader in the ANC and the ANC Women’s League.

The late Mme Leholo, Thembalethu’s very own freedom fighter, was laid to rest this past weekend.

Her son, Castro Leholo, described his mother as loving, disciplined, and caring, and said she was very passionate about whatever she put her mind on.

“As a young pretty lady, she became passionate about sport, tennis and boxing. She became a promising tennis player and a boxing fan because of her two elder brothers who were boxers at the time. Her passion was to see a black child educated and taking [center] stage in developing this country.

“This has been demonstrated by her actions, not only among her children and grandchildren, but also kids of her friends and destitute children who came to go to school in this area.

“She would accommodate them and represent them as their parent in order to be enrolled in that specific school.”

Leholo was also a devoted Christian and led in various positions in the Methodist Church, where she used her skills to mentor and teach many people about the word of God.

She is survived by her children, grandchildren, children she helped to raise, two sisters, and her older brother.

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