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Mkhize praised by family and friends at funeral

File picture: Oupa Mokoena/ANA

File picture: Oupa Mokoena/ANA

Published Sep 25, 2021


Deputy Minister in the Presidency Hlengiwe Mkhize’s history in the struggle and her dedication to the social welfare of women and children dominated messages of grief at her funeral on Saturday.

The deputy minister in the presidency for women, youth and persons with disabilities was showered with praise at her funeral held at Fourways Memorial Park.

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Mkhize, 69, died following a long battle with lung cancer.

She was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and her daughter Dr Zinzi Mkhize-Vabaza said her mother was given 18 months to live.

During this time, Mkhize remained committed to her job and her non-profit social work.

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Mkhize-Vabaza said her mom was so dedicated to her work that she even voted a month ago to elect the speaker of the National Assembly.

“She was dedicated and embodied the spirit of being imbokodo.

“I wish we had caught this earlier.

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“You fought humbly with dignity and grace,” Mkhize-Vabaza said.

Her husband, Pat Mkhize, also spoke fondly of his memories with his wife.

He shared how he pursued her even though he was fearful and she remained stern.

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“Hlengiwe, my room-mate, you are a motivator and you used power to help with my standing with God.”

Other tributes included brief details of Mkhize’'s time as a student activist.

Reverend Frank Chikane said he first met Mkhize in the 1970s while she served as a student leader.

Chikane said even then Mkhize was a “professional, rounded and reliable leader”.

She had high-level boundaries on what can and could not be done, Chikane said.

He said it was no wonder that she was involved in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Zingiswa Losi, speaking on behalf of the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa, said Mkhize had played a crucial role in the organisation founded in 2005.

“She stood for women’s rights as well as their economic participation.

“She was a servant.

“She knocked at all doors to ensure that the conditions of women are changed for the best.

“She never shacked in her skirt.

“She stirred the movement, made sure that everything we did had an impact especially on the poor,” Losi said.

Former first lady Zanele Mbeki said: “She (Mkhize) was an elegant and dedicated comrade.

“She had a deep sense of humanity.

“She had empathy and was not afraid to confront the challenges faced by the country.

“When it came to urgent matters of humanity she was bipartisan.”

Political Bureau

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