Former Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union vice president and ANC veteran, Pretty Shuping, was hailed for her contribution in making Popcru a formidable force in the country’s labour sector.
At the Durban ICC on Sunday evening, the Mangaung-born leader was honoured through a memorial lecture dedicated to celebrate her life.
Shuping, who died in June 2008 after spending four years as one of the leaders of the Cosatu-affiliated union, was described by those who worked with her as a capable leader who did not seek office for own gain but led only after she was convinced to do so by union members.
Speaking during the memorial lecture which coincided with the union’s 34th birthday, Popcru president Zizamele Cebekhulu-Makhaza said the country would have failed Shuping if it failed to ensure women were given a chance to lead society.
“With this lecture, we remember comrade Pretty’s example, and the importance of humility, commitment, compassion and the willingness to listen to other people. Her leadership also served as a lesson to others and the importance of discipline, self-restraint, consistency and steadfastness.”
Cebekhulu-Makhaza said it was important to remember the great contribution women such as Shuping played in the Struggle for freedom.
“We are all familiar with the fact that South Africa struggled against segregation, specifically, in term of race for over 300 years. But inequality in employment was not only based on race, but on gender as well. Even women with a strong educational background were expected to remain at home. In the Struggle against apartheid, however, women in South Africa played a critical role as activists in the fight for basic human rights, justice and equality,” he said.
Cosatu President Zingiswa Losi said it was important to honour and celebrate those who had laid the foundation and contributed to freedom.
“A nation which does not understand its history will inevitably repeat its tragedies.Comrade Pretty’s life is testimony to what South Africans can achieve in spite of the many obstacles that colonialism, apartheid, capitalism and neo-liberalism place in front of the working class. Besides growing up in the poorest communities, Mangaung, comrade Pretty rose, preserved and thrived,” she said.
Losi commended Shuping for having fought gallantly to make her mark in the male-dominated police force, as well as within the provincial and national structures of Popcru, after being elected a shop steward within a short period.
“She entered one of the most difficult sectors for black women – the police. Not only was she recognised as a leader and elected as a shop steward by her peers, but rose to become a national leader and deputy president of our mighty Popcru,” Losi said.