President accords activist Lydia Komape-Ngwenya special Provincial Official Funeral Category 2

The Premier of Limpopo Mr. Chupu Stanley Mathabatha has welcomed the decision by the President of South Africa Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa to accord activist and stalwart Ms Lydia Komape-Ngwenya a Special Provincial Official Funeral, Category 2.

Ms Lydia Komape-Ngwenya passed on on Wednesday, 11 October 2023 in Polokwane at the age of 88. Born and raised in a farm in the then Northern Transvaal, her political prominence took center stage in the mid-1970s. Her father worked as a deacon in Lutheran Mission looking after livestock and sweet potatoes while her mother moved to Johannesburg to find a job as a domestic worker.

Activist Komape-Ngwenya also moved to Johannesburg to seek work. In the mid-1970s she become one of the few senior women in the Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU). She and other shop stewards were fired in 1976 for helping in organising the solidarity protest in the Soweto uprising. Komape-Ngwenya then got recruited on a full time as a union organizer by MAWU. In 1986 she returned to rural area and worked for Black Sash, and founded the Rural Women’s Movement (RWM) to attract greater attention to women’s issues in the negotiations to end apartheid. She used her experience to negotiate with tribal authorities for women’s involvement in socio-political participation of decision-making structures.

In 2009, President Kgalema Motlanthe awarded Komape-Ngwenya the Order of Luthuli in Bronze for her commitment to workers’ rights, the empowerment of rural women and liberation of people from the hash arm of the apartheid government.

Post-1994, Komape-Ngwenya served at the National Assembly as member of Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs, member of the Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women and supported the passage of maintenance Bill to grant legal recognition to customary marriages. She also served two terms as a member of Limpopo Legislature until her retirement after 2019 elections.

Premier Mathabatha said: “As a province and country, we have lost a giant, a woman and mother who fought endlessly for emancipation of women at all costs. The Provincial Government conveys words of condolences to the family, friends and her comrades. Her star shall continue to shine bright in the sky with other fallen heroin and heroes of our struggle.”

Details of the funeral are as follows:

Date: 21 October 2023
Venue: Tsimanyane, Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality
Sekhukhune District Municipality
Time: 06h00

Issued by the Limpopo Provincial Government

For media inquiries, please contact the Provincial Government Spokesperson,
Mr. Ndavhe Ramakuela,
Tel: 082 200 5357/ 067 267 2063