By Terri-Liza Fortein

Bonteheuwel struggle veteran Stella Jagger fought for freedom and better living conditions for ordinary people all her life - then died at the 50th Freedom Charter Celebrations in Kliptown.

Jagger, 65, was a fighter. She had arthritis in her joints, water on her lung, had survived a battle with both stomach and breast cancer and suffered from diabetes.

But she managed to make her way to the 50th Freedom Charter Celebrations in Kliptown, where she died.

Her family has not confirmed the cause of death, but on Monday afternoon her son-in-law, Neville Sabor, said the family suspected that the excitement of the gathering had affected her and she had died of a heart attack.

"Her companion said she became tired during the festivities on Sunday afternoon and she was taken to a local hospital where she died on Sunday evening," said Sabor.

Jagger worked in the clothing and textile industry for more than 40 years. She was a founder member of civic and anti-apartheid organisations in Bonteheuwel in the Western Cape.

She offered refuge to struggle heroes, including Anton Fransch and Ashley Kriel, while they were on the run.

Her husband of almost 50 years, William Jagger, 69, said he would remember his wife for her caring nature and would be very lonely without her.

"She would never turn a person in need away. If they asked her for a piece of bread and she had it she would give it to them with pleasure," he said.

Jagger's anti-apartheid activities got her arrested in December 1987 and she spent almost two months in detention.

She was a long-standing member of the African National Congress and went to Kliptown as part of the ANC veteran delegation from the Western Cape.

Sabor said his mother-in-law had been a very strong person who had many good leadership qualities.

He said attending the celebrations at Kliptown had been one of the highlights of Jagger's life. "She was as excited about going to Kliptown as she was about casting her vote in 1994."

"She said she wanted to be among her comrades in Kliptown for the celebration of such an important milestone, despite her health problems."

Desmond Grootboom, who worked with Jagger at the Bonteheuwel advice office during the '80s, said she had been a fiery and uncompromising woman, a constant feature in community and public life in Bonteheuwel.

Jagger's body is still in Kliptown and her family are hoping the body will arrive home later this week so they can finalise funeral arrangements.

She leaves her husband William, her daughters Millicent Sabor and Anthea Cyster and her sons Terence and Barry. - Staff Reporter.