Media release

IMC on State Funerals on Memorial and Funeral Service of Mma Zondeni Victoria Sobukwe

22 August 2018

Members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on State Funerals led by Minister in the Presidency, for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma met yesterday to discuss preparations for the official memorial and official funeral of Mma Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe. 

Ma Sobukwe, the wife of the late Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) founder and first President, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe died on Wednesday, 15th August at the age of 91 at her home in Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape. 

Born Zondeni Veronica Mathe on the 27th July 1927 in Hlobane in KwaZulu-Natal, she got married to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe on the 6th June 1954. She was an activist in her own right.

In her youth she participated and led protest marches against racist conditions imposed on trainee Black nurses at Victoria hospital eDikeni (Alice). It was then that she met Robert Sobukwe who was the President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of Fort Hare.

On the 16th August 2018, President Ramaphosa announced that Mma Sobukwe will be accorded a Special Official Funeral Category 2. This category is reserved for distinguished persons specifically designated by the President of South Africa on request by the Premier of a province. In accordance with this funeral category and in her honour, the country flags are on half-mast as a sign of mourning until the day of the funeral.

The details for the Memorial and Funeral are as follows:

The Official Memorial Service was held today, 22nd August 2018, at the Sobukwe Family Home in Graaff-Reinet.

The Official Funeral Service will be held on Saturday 25th August 2018 from 09h30 at Graaff-Reinet Botanical Gardens. 

The funeral service will be open to members of the public. Those who wish to send messages of condolence and support to the family and friends are advised to make use of condolence books available at the following places:

Graaff-Reinet  Methodist Church

Dr Beyers Naudé Local Municipality (previously Camdeboo Local Municipality) situated in the Sarah Baartman District. 

The Deputy President, Mr. David Mabuza will deliver the eulogy at the official funeral and this will include tributes from friends and family.

Mma Sobukwe will be laid to rest at the Asheville near Kroonvale cemetery, where her husband Mr Robert Sobukwe is also buried. The period of mourning, as declared by the President, will end on Saturday evening when the struggle icon has been laid to rest.

Mma Sobukwe, a struggle stalwart in her own right will be remembered for her dedication to the freedom struggle of the people of South Africa. She was known as the Mother of Azania.

This year, 2018, Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe received the Order of Luthuli in Silver for her tenacious call for freedom of the people and steadfast support of incarcerated freedom fighters.  As a health practitioner and an activist, Mma Sobukwe epitomised the collective experiences of many black women throughout the continent, who played a role and contributed to the liberation struggle.

Phumla Williams
GCIS Acting Director-General
Cell: 083 5010 139

Share this page
Similar categories to explore