Agnes Msimang, 'mom' to ANC activists dies aged 89

She taught children in India to sing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

19 October 2018 - 09:57 By TimesLIVE
Ma Agnes Msimang
Ma Agnes Msimang
Image: Msimang family

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday said he was mourning Agnes Msimang‚ whom he described as a heroine of the South African anti-apartheid struggle and a surrogate mother to many activists.

"Ma Aggie" died at a Johannesburg hospital on Thursday‚ the presidency said in a statement. She was 89.

Ramaphosa said Msimang was “a true servant of the people”‚ a committed and loyal member of the ANC‚ and a surrogate mother to many activists‚ both inside the country and in exile‚ during apartheid.

He said the former deputy president of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) was a committed gender activist and among countless women who mobilised their communities against the apartheid system.

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‚ Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.”

In 2014 she received the National Order of Luthuli in Silver for her contribution to the fight against apartheid and for her selfless service to South Africa's liberation cause. She was also the recipient of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s (Dirco) highest accolade‚ the OR Tambo Lifetime Achievement Ubuntu Award.

The presidency said: “Ma Aggie will be remembered for the multiple roles she assumed in her community and within the organisation to which she remained loyal throughout her life. She loved young people and was always concerned for their welfare. She was instrumental in nurturing the Masupatsela‚ the ANC Youth Brigade.”

Ramaphosa said: “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.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family‚ friends and comrades of our heroine at this difficult time. Lala Ngoxolo Mama.”