Mama Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe who passed away this morning in the Eastern Cape.

Durban – The Presiding Officers of Parliament, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Thandi Modise, sent their condolences this afternoon on the passing of struggle stalwart, activist and advocate against apartheid, Mama Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe. 

Affectionately known as ‘Mother of Azania’, she died earlier this morning after a short illness. She was 91 years old.

Born in Hlobane in Natal, she married Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe and, in line with African tradition and matrimonial rites of passage, she received the customary nuptial name of Nosango. She had four children: Miliswa, Dinilesizwe, Dalindyebo and Dedanizizwe.

She was part of the broader collective of anti-apartheid activists struggling to bring about a just, equal and democratic society. In her youth, she participated and led protest marches against racist conditions imposed on trainee black nurses at Victoria hospital in Alice. 

Parliament sent its heartfelt condolences to the Sobukwe family and her close friends.

Executive Trustee at the Steve Biko Foundation, Nkosinathi Biko, said: Mama Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe epitomizes the collective struggles of Black people in South Africa. Her title of 'Mother of Azania' speaks to her insurmountable commitment to the youth and peoples of South Africa, as well as her fierce activism and struggle against racial discrimination. Whilst saddened by her passing, we celebrate her humility and selflessness, and will remember her as one of the greatest leaders of our nation, a champion of our young democracy.”