Picture: Phill Magakoe/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Durban - The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal said on Monday that it was mourning the passing of two of its struggle veterans Cleophas Mzimela who died after a long illness in Durban, and Thembekile Luthuli-Ngobese, the daughter of Chief Albert Luthuli. 

"It is with a profound sense of sadness that we received the sad news of the passing away of Cde Cleophas Mzimela – a hero of our movement who served the ANC with distinction.  He died after a long illness in Durban," the party said in a statement. 

The party said Mzimela was "fearless guerilla" who served in the Chief Albert Luthuli detachment and took part in the 1967 Wankie Campaign commanded by Chris Hani, which was Umkhonto Wesizwe's first significant military act in South Africa, shortly after Luthuli's death under mysterious circumstances. 

"As the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, we remember Cde Mzimela as one of the millions of our cadres who were tortured and harassed by the apartheid machinery because they dreamed of a free and equal society. 

His death was a great loss, the ANC said, adding that it would honour Mzimela for his contribution to the struggle for freedom.

Luthuli-Ngobese, who was the youngest daughter of Luthuli, died aged 79 in hospital after she had complained of severe headaches.

"MaLuthuli appreciated community development. She was often behind the scenes of civil rights especially for women, not only in communities, but within the organization as well,"  ANC provincial spokesperson, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, said.

Simelane-Zulu said like her father, Luthuli-Ngobese was a great philanthropist, teacher and giver, and had molded many women-headed households that were left without father figures after their husbands were forced to seek work in the mines. 

She is survived by her five daughters and 18 grandchildren. Funeral details for both Mzimela and Luthuli-Ngobese are yet to be released. 

African News Agency/ANA