Robert Sobukwe's widow, Veronica Sobukwe, with some of her daughters in this file photo. Picture: Alf Kumalo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC have expressed sadness at the news of struggle icon Veronica Zondeni Sobukwe's death.

Zondeni, the widow of late president of the PAC Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, died on Wednesday morning following her hospitalisation at the Midland Hospital in Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape where she had been for three weeks. She was 91.

The Presidency in a statement said Ramaphosa was saddened by the news of her death and sent his condolences to the struggle icon's family.

"President Ramaphosa’s thoughts are with the Sobukwe family, the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Foundation and the leadership and membership of the Pan Africanist Congress.

Ramaphosa was also quoted as saying: “The loss – in Women’s Month - of Mama Sobukwe is a sad loss to the Sobukwe family, foundation and our nation at large.  We have lost a heroine of resistance and a fighter for the freedom of all South Africans, who continued her activism into our democratic dispensation. We will always remember and honour her extraordinary contribution.”

Adding to this was the ANC's Zizi Kodwa, who said the party was saddened to hear of Zondeni's death. 

"A struggle stalwart in her own right, she endured pain, rejection and immense suffering visited on her by the racist apartheid regime which she overtly challenged through her writings, demanding the release of her husband who was incarcerated by the illegitimate regime.

"The ANC extends its heartfelt condolences to the Sobukwe family, her friends and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) on their loss.

The struggle icon, affectionately known as  “Mother of Azania”, was on April 28, 2018, bestowed the National Order of Luthuli in Silver by Ramaphosa. 

She and Sobukwe had four children Miliswa, Dinilesizwe, Dalinyebo and Dedanizizwe.