Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, the wife of Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) founder Robert Sobukwe was on Wednesday, described as the ‘rock and pillar,” by her children.
Dini Sobukwe the eldest son of Robert and Mama Zondeni Sobukwe said his mother remained resilient despite persecution by the apartheid regime.
“We were blessed with a strong and resilient mother. She went through severe persecution by the apartheid regime but never lose a positive spirit. We were persecuted for carrying the name ‘Sobukwe’ and at times we were forced to split as the family for our own safety but she would always gather us together,” he said.
Sobukwe died peacefully in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the age of 91. She died at her home in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape, surrounded by her loved ones after being discharged from Midlands Hospital.
Dini Sobukwe said the family has been comforted by messages of support it received.
“There were people who were visiting us during her hospitalisation and we have been getting messages of support not just from the country even beyond its borders.”
PAC activists in the Eastern Cape said Mama Sobukwe always reminded them that the country was not completely free because the majority of black people remained poor and without the land.
Khosi Maqethuka described it as the privilege to grow in the party under her.
“I learned a lot about sacrifice and humility from her. She did a lot for the people of this country… She never stopped serving because after the family moved back to Graaff-Reinet she started a soup kitchen and old-age home which is named after her,” Maqethuka said.
The Sobukwe couple got married on June 6, 1954, at St Paul’s Anglican Church at Jabavu in Soweto.
In line with African tradition and matrimonial rites of passage, she received the customary nuptial name of Nosango.
Mama Sobukwe is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She will be laid to rest at Graaff-Reinet on August 25.