President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa is poorer as a result of the passing away of a heroine of the South African struggle, Ma Agnes Msimang at a Johannesburg hospital on Thursday, at the age of 89.
Ramaphosa described Ma Aggie, as she was fondly known, as “a true servant of the people” adding that she was a committed and loyal member of the ANC and was a surrogate mother to many activists both inside the country and in exile during apartheid.
Msimang was a committed gender activist and former Deputy President of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL).
Following the demise of apartheid she joined the then Department of Foreign Affairs and served as deputy chief representative to India.
During her term, she started the Africa Club, which helped South African youth learn their culture. She also trained Indian school children about South Africa’s struggle for liberation, including the singing of the national anthem.
In 2014, she received the National Order of Luthuli in Silver in 2014 for her contribution to the fight against the unjust laws of apartheid, and for her selfless service to the cause of South Africa’s liberation.
She was also the recipient of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s (DIRCO) highest accolade, the OR Tambo Lifetime Achievement Ubuntu Award.
Ramaphosa says, “Mama Agnes Msimang never wavered in her dedication to the struggle and to nurturing new generations of activists and fighters who helped our nation to secure its freedom.”
The President added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and comrades of our heroine at this difficult time.”