Your legacy lives on, Mother of Azania

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The University of Fort Hare hosted the provincial memorial service for the late Veronica Sobukwe  who died on the 15th August. The “Mother of Azania” as she was affectionately known; was the wife of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, the founder of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania. The memorial service was held on Wednesday 22nd at the university’s Christian Union Hall at the main campus – Alice. It is the same university where her husband rose to prominence as a political stalwart and liberation thought leader.

 Mrs. Veronica Sobukwe was a trainee nurse at Victoria hospital, Alice in 1949 when she met Robert Sobukwe and got married the following year. Whilst a student at the nearby Lovedale College, she led a labour dispute strike that resulted to her expulsion. That however did not deter her from political activism; instead ignited her passion for political activism even more. During that time she showed resilience as she defied apartheid laws and especially the conditions of imprisonment of her husband.

Described by friends as an anchor to her family till her last days, as she was the glue that kept her family together, she was selfless with a good heart and commanded lots of respect even without saying a word.  Dr Luvuyo Dondolo from the Centre for Transdisciplinary Studies mentioned that the people of South Africa do not know Mrs Sobukwe because writings about her were deliberately destroyed. She and her family lived by the three S’s of PAC (Serve, Suffer and Sacrifice). She was her own woman, separate from her husband, as she had her own beliefs and stood by them, she fought valiantly against the Apartheid Government. “The Sobukwe Legacy will live on in our hearts even though there is not even one thing named after her and her husband in South Africa”, said Dr Dondolo.

Earlier on in the East London campus the youth wing of the PAC through Phumzile Nomnga who is a provincial coordinator made a call for Victoria hospital in Alice to be named after her and the University of Fort Hare to named after Robert Sobukwe.


BY Yanga Yiba.