Chabaku laid to rest

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rockville- South Africans were yesterday reminded of the selfless and unwavering spirit of one the country's last surviving leaders of the 1956 women's march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria against pass laws.

Many gathered at Elkah Stadium on Saturday to bid farewell and to celebrate the life of Reverend Motlalepula Chabaku who many described as a one of the greatest leaders and organisers that fought to free many from the shackles of apartheid.

Speaking on behalf of President Jacob Zuma, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said Reverend Chabaku fought for the liberation of the South African people without expectation of material gain or personal glory.

"Chabaku understood too well that the struggle against the pass laws was an integral part of the broader struggle whilst ensuring that the root cause was identified and dealt with. Rev Chabaku understood too well that the struggle against pass laws was for the liberation of African people.

"Many of us who occupy positions of leadership in government, the private sector and civil society do so because of the efforts and sacrifices made by women like Rev Chabaku. We must appreciate the roles played by those that came before us such as Rev Chabaku who created enabling conditions for us as women. We trust we will all begin to ensure that the world our children inherit is a better one than the one we found," she said.

Also in attendance was Arts & Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Minister of Water & Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau and local and international dignitaries.

Minister Mashatile in his tribute said: "Chabaku taught us the progressive values of our movement. She taught us values of unity, selflessness, humility, honesty and hard work.

"In honouring Mama Chabaku we must continue to fight for a truly non-sexist South Africa in which women play a meaningful role in all aspects of our country, in government, in the private sector and more importantly in the economic mainstream of our country," he added.

Motshekga reminisced about her school days when she and many of her schoolmates referred to Rev Chabaku as Mistress June.

"We will always remember her hard work, dedication and most of all her compassion to the human race," said Motshekga.

Mokonyane said Chabaku was not only a liberation leader but a teacher to many in the country, adding that she stood for the truth and understood that the role of the church was to stand for the truth and provide sanctuary and comfort for those who needed it.

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