News / South Africa

Vicky Abraham
2 minute read
27 Feb 2017
6:30 am

‘Sobukwe’s widow has been neglected’

Vicky Abraham

Zondeni Sobukwe, also an activist and former nurse, is burdened with a wheelchair that's falling apart.

Robert Sobukwe. Picture: Screenshot from a Journeyman Pictures documentary on Robert Sobukwe

Part of the proceeds from a gala dinner aimed at honouring the late Robert Sobukwe, anti-apartheid leader and president of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), will go towards getting a wheelchair for his ailing widow.

PAC national spokesperson Kenneth Mokgatlhe said Sobukwe’s pivotal contribution towards the liberation of South Africa was evident.

But he was concerned that Sobukwe’s wife, Zondeni, had been neglected by government, unlike the other widows of fallen anti-apartheid heroes, saying that she relied on old age pension grant to make ends meet.

He said the money raised at the gala dinner, hosted in Cape Town on Saturday, would “be very useful to the Sobukwe family”.

Mokgatlhe was worried that Zondeni, also an activist and former nurse by profession, was burdened with a wheelchair that was falling apart.

He said despite having led nurses at marches, aimed at fighting for better working conditions, Sobukwe’s widow had not been honoured for her bravery and encouraging role during the apartheid era.

Sobukwe died on February 27, 1978, in Kimberley, Northern Cape, where he was under house arrest following his imprisonment on Robben Island.

Various events were held in recognition of Sobukwe’s anti-apartheid struggle credentials throughout the country this month.

The gala dinner – themed Untamed in Life, Victorious – and another event held at the Sharpeville Community Hall in the Vaal, Gauteng, yesterday – was part of them. Mokgatlhe said Sobukwe’s legacy should be recorded, and this would be done through archiving his material.

As part of the commemoration, today, demonstrators under the PAC banner, students and church leaders will march from Alice to the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape to demand that management rename the institution after Sobukwe.

Mokgatlhe said it was fitting that the university be so named, as Sobuwke was president of the students’ representative council during his years of study.

“Sobukwe was an intellectual, philosopher and, above all, a modern thinker,” Mokgatlhe said.

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