Johannesburg - The African National Congress (ANC) is mourning the death of "one of the most respected, battle-hardened and loved stalwarts of the liberation struggle" - Vivian Magdalene Sarah Daniels, who died at the age of 82.
“Her death, coming so soon after that of Comrade Andiswa Ndevu, who tragically died on Tuesday night, comes as a great shock,” said the secretary of the ANC in the Western Cape, Faiez Jacobs.
"She walked with the giants of our struggle, such as Albertina Sisulu, and yet never lost the common touch. She was a people’s person, an ordinary mother who became an admired freedom fighter.”
Affectionately known as "Auntie Vivvy", Daniels began her life as an activist in 1979/1980 when Wilfred Rhodes, another legendary community activist, and a young Trevor Manuel, who were 43 and 23 respectively, got her involved in efforts to improve the living conditions of poor people.
“She was one of those resolute leaders who gathered her community to fight and defy the apartheid regime. Auntie Vivvy touched many, many lives," said Jacobs.
Such was her intensity and commitment to the freedom Struggle, that her house in Bellville South became the unofficial hive of struggle activity in the area.
Issues such as poor houses with no electricity, water, ceilings or toilets became major challenges that were tackled by her organisation, Bellville Residents’ Association, which was part of Cape Areas Housing Action Committee.
In her lifetime, Auntie Vivvy addressed many meetings, including UDF rallies. She also spoke at a mass meeting Bonteheuwel, sharing a platform with Allan Boesak and Umkhonto we Sizwe soldier Ashley Kriel.
In 1983, she was also involved in the founding of a crisis centre, which later became Bellville Advice Office and which supported young people who were in detention. e
With financial assistance from the Dependence Conference, she would visit Victor Verster Prison (now Drakenstein Prison) in Paarl every other day to see detainees. She also went to court to support detainees, as well as post their bail.
Auntie Vivvy not only witnessed police brutality but also experienced it. She once recalled that in her lifetime she had endured "her democratic share of teargas" from Bellville South, St George’s Cathedral to Community House.
She is survived by her son Anthony, daughter Carol, a daughter in law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In a statement late Wednesday, the ANC's Dennis Cruywagen said: "Funeral arrangements will be announced soon".
African News Agency/ANA