A Tribute to Emma Mashinini from the Thabo Mbeki Foundation

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation and its patron former President Thabo Mbeki, have learned with a deep sense of shock and disbelief of the passing away of the giant and champion of the rights of workers in South Africa, Mama Emma Mashinini.

As she championed the cause of the workers she demonstrated a deep seated love and selfless devotion towards the improvement of the quality of life of not just the workers but for all the people of South Africa.

During her lifetime she waged a relentless battle for the rights of workers – undaunted and undeterred by intimidation and the myriad obstacles put in her way by the oppressive system of white domination and exploitation. She possessed and indefatigable spirit that served as a beacon in her quest to achieve the goals and objectives which she had set for herself.

She will be remembered for her sterling contribution to the struggle of the working people and overcoming her own personal challenges to reach her goals. Her whole life is living testimony that there are no obstacle too great or mountain too high to climb when one is determined to reach the summit of their heart’s desire.

Mme Mashinini was not only a champion of worker’s rights but she also participated in the political struggle for freedom and justice under the auspices of the African National Congress. She recognised that the rights of workers could not be separated and are indivisible from the struggles of the people of South Africa for the rights of self-determination, freedom and equality in the land of their birth.

It can be said without any fear of contradiction that Mama Emma has lived a full life, a life befitting of a veteran and stalwart of the African National Congress.

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Mama Emma Mashinini.

To them we say your loss is the loss of the people of South Africa as a whole and those of us who remain can best honour her memory by living in accordance with the ethical and principled values which defined her life.

May her soul rest in eternal peace.


Dr Brigalia Bam

Board Chairperson

Thabo Mbeki Foundation

July 11, 2017.

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