Statement of the ANC Veterans League (Limpopo) on the Passing of the Veteran and Stalwart Comrade Lydia Ngwenya-Komape
It with a profound sense of sadness to announce the passing of our veteran Mam Lydia Ngwenya. Mam Lydia took her last breath on Wednesday, 11 October 2023 while still admitted in the ICU section of Netcare-Pholosho Private Hospital in Polokwane. Mam Lydia Ngwenya was a member of both the ANC and ANCVL in good standing and occupied the position of the Deputy Provincial Chairperson of the VL before the 3rd Provincial Conference during June 2023.
Mam Lydia, as she was affectionately known, was an all-round organizer against the vicious and brutal system of apartheid. She took part in the progressive trade union movement, the struggles of the rural masses against forced removals and the emancipation of women against patriarchal practices and the broad political struggle for freedom. Mam Lydia also took part in a mass action which mobilised women to protest against the Apartheid government’s infamous pass-laws. The Johannesburg protest was organised by the President of the ANC Women’s League, Lilian Ngoyi and Albertina Sisulu, amongst others. During the 1976 student uprisings, Mam Lydia also found herself settling into a new role as the symbolic mother to the burgeoning student movement in and around the Johannesburg region.
Her role in the struggle will forever remain a shining example of the qualities of a true freedom fighter and revolutionary. Her humbleness and disarming smile were appreciated by many in all walks of life. These are qualities that shielded her from detection by the apartheid security apparatus. Mam Lydia whole-heartedly hated factionalism and disunity within the ranks of the liberation movement.
The ANC Veterans League in Limpopo, is applying for Mam Lydia Ngwenya to be accorded the official funeral service by the Office of the President. Her political biography confirms her involvement in the struggle for the liberation of South Africa from the early 1950’s when she served in the trade union movement. She later served as both a national member of Parliament and provincial member of Legislature for 25 years.
In March 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 the liberation of our people.
ANC Veterans League Provincial Secretary:
Acting Provincial Spokesperson
061 587 0376