Prudence Mabele laid to rest

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to Prudence Mabele - the humanist, comrade, activist, leader and manager - saying she gave a voice to the voiceless.

“Prudence gave a voice to thousands whose stories and experiences, fears and dreams, often went unheard. She brought comfort to those she knew were pained by physical discomfort, social stigma and the violation of their fundamental human rights,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa on Wednesday.

He was speaking at the funeral of the late activist at Rhema Bible Church in Randburg, which was attended by several high level dignitaries such as Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and the Director of the United Nations Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Mabele was the first black woman to publicly reveal that she was HIV positive in 1992. She succumbed to pneumonia in a Rosebank hospital on Monday last week at the age of 46.

Deputy President Ramaphosa said Mabele never stood back from speaking truth to power and she never stopped questioning and confronting those who she believed were neglecting their own duty to society.

“She spoke her mind to shape other minds and build networks of activism and support that changed thousands, if not millions, of lives.”

While many marvelled at government’s achievements in putting millions of people on antiretroviral treatment, Deputy President Ramaphosa said Mabele did not give up the struggle.

“She kept fighting because she saw the many lives that still needed to be saved, the many wounds that still needed to be healed, the many injustices that still needed to be righted, and the many indignities that still needed to be confronted.”

The Deputy President said she has the modern-day iteration of the fearlessness, steadfast conviction and selfless activism that drove Sophie de Bruyn, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and others during the apartheid.

He called on the young women and men to follow Mabele’s example and be passionate, committed and deeply care about the welfare of others.

“We need young people with the courage to challenge complacency, incompetence, arrogance and corruption. Importantly, we need young people who will organise, mobilise, conscientise and build.” – 

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