The late former National Assembly Speaker Dr Frene Ginwala has been hailed as an internationalist par excellence. In a memorial service held in Pretoria by the International Women’s Forum of South Africa, Ginwala has been remembered for the exceptional role she played in the liberation struggle.
She passed away at the age of 90. An official memorial service will be held next week.
President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a seven-day period of mourning in honour of the late founding Speaker of South Africa’s democratic Parliament. The President has directed that all flags be flown at half-mast until next week Tuesday.
VIDEO: Memorial service for the late Dr Frene Ginwala
South Africa is observing seven days of mourning the late Speaker. Her colleagues say she made an invaluable contribution not just in South Africa.
Former National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says, “I remember you preparing for Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s funeral telling me in your culture you wore a white when someone has passed. I know why from my point of view and I saw that with my mother bringing me garments and I am wearing white because of what you told me.”
Former Cabinet Minister Dr Essop Phahad says “We remember her as a giant of our struggle but I also remember two things about her. She was an internationalist, let us commit and recommit ourselves to intensify the international solidarity with the embattled people of Palestine in their struggle against Israeli colonialism.”
There were also light moments as mourners reminisced about the late activist. SAWID Chairperson Thoko Mpumlwana says, “With her signature, order and Sawidians in our WhatsApp group kept writing order honourable member including the young ones and we will keep having these memorials and we want to express our gratitude to her family. And we are here to draw from her knowledge as they laid the foundation for us.”
Former MPs like ex-Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka who went on to become a United Nations Women’s head also attended the service. She says they learnt a lot from the late former National Assembly Speaker and she was principled.
“Her work ethic is unforgettable, it was because of her that I think all of us never failed on the assignment we were given. It was a pleasure and a bit challenging working with her and she had no sympathy for low achievers.”
The late Dr Ginwala has been described by her peers and fellow party members as one of the most formidable internationalists to have ever lived on our soil and her legacy will continue to shine.