File photo: Sister Bernard Ncube being inaugurated at the Randfontein council offices.

Johannesburg - ANC struggle veteran and Catholic nun Sister Bernard Ncube died on Friday, the party said.

“It is an interesting coincidence that she passed on during a month that honours women, a subject she was passionate about,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

“Sister Ncube, who studied theology and was a teacher and entered the Companions Catholic Order, was pivotal in organising women in the 1970s to the 1980s.”

During apartheid, Ncube was arrested and spent time in solitary confinement. She was charged with sedition and subversion.

She was a leader of the United Democratic Front and an African National Congress national executive committee member.

In 1994, she was elected a Member of Parliament, was chairwoman of the portfolio committee on arts and culture, and was an alternate member of the National Council of Provinces.

“Despite her religious beliefs, she was pragmatic when it came to public policy options and thus was referred to as an 'unorthodox' nun,” said Mthembu.

“Sister Bernard Ncube spent her adult life at the service of the people of South Africa. For that, we are eternally indebted to her and her family.”

The SA Council of Churches (SACC) said South Africans should strive to be like Ncube.

“We urge all South Africans to emulate this rare human being, who dedicated her whole life to the liberation of the oppressed so that the God of justice could be felt in their daily struggles for freedom,” said SACC general secretary Reverend Mautji Pataki. - Sapa