ANC stalwart Epainette Mbeki, and the mother of former president Thabo Mbeki, was a true icon, the Commission for Gender Equality said on Saturday.
“MaMbeki was not only known as former president Thabo Mbeki's mother, but had a distinctive uniqueness of speaking her mind on social- political issues,” the CGE said in a statement.
“She was a true icon of our time that was loved and embraced by many in her community for her social responsibility activities.”
She will be missed across by all whose lives she has touched in her family, her village and in the country, the commission said.
Epainette Mbeki, 98, died in East London, Eastern Cape.
She was the mother of former president Thabo Mbeki and the wife of the late African National Congress and SA Communist Party stalwart Govan Mbeki.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said Epainette Mbeki lived an exemplary life in pursuit of the betterment of others.
“Mama Mbeki was hands-on to the very end. She lived among the poor, worked with the poor and provided hope to the hopeless,” spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.
South Africans, especially the community in her village of Ngcingwane will miss her independent and intelligent mind, her fearlessness to challenge power even when it meant disagreeing with her own son who served as president of the country, said Ndlozi.
North West premier Supra Mahumapelo also sent his condolences to the Mbeki family.
He said the struggle icon lived for her community and gave her life and everything that was hers to the course for the struggle for liberation.
“In her we have lost a humble role model, a courageous and fearless anti-apartheid activist and an independent thinker,” Mahumapelo said in a statement.
The Mbeki family said her funeral would be held at the family home in Ngcingwane, Idutywa, Eastern Cape on Saturday June 14. - Sapa