A Month of Mourning

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We have lost some great women in 2021. One can only trust we the women of South Africa, will build on what they have left us.

Women - Queen Mantfombi
Queen Mantfombi

Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu was hospitalized on April 27th and passed away two days later, on 29 April 2021, a month after her husband, King Goodwill Zwelithini. South Africa and the Zulu Nation received the news with deep shock.

During WIIN’s annual attendance of the Reed Dance Ceremony her influence became evident through her role as First Wife, in inspiring change and support via her husband, with regards to the status of and the customs which affected women within its context. She was a conscious woman who helped highlight the impacts of patriarchal and chauvinistic tendencies within customary practices, which considered women as inferior to men.

As the WIIN delegations, we were delighted when the late King Zwelithini publicly condemned the behaviours of some men within his nation as well as the country, citing customary rights in defence of gross human rights violations towards women and children.

Her absence will be felt acutely and we pray her work will be actively continued by the generations of vibrant women within the Zulu Royal House.

Jacqui Mofokeng passed away on April 22, within 24 hours of her only child, her daughter Thato, and both will be sorely missed. Their loss bereaved our family and left me speechless.

Jacqui was a dedicated mother, my friend and politician who served with dignity and commitment in her efforts to strengthen the security cluster for the safety and protection of the lives of ALL South Africans. We both recognized that upon the global stage, the greatest struggle to irradicate societal ills and challenges posed upon good governance was in fact patriarchy? It has fuelled wars and unspeakable acts of violence throughout human history. This fact is supported by global statistics which highlights the need to increase our advances against sexism and gender disparity!

Women - Jacqui Mofokeng
Jacqui Mofokeng

Jacqui Mofokeng was a member of the sixth SA parliament, and served in the joint Constitutional Review Committee, the joint standing Committee on Intelligence, the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, and the Portfolio Committee on Police at the time of her death. Many might remember her as the deployee whom led and attended the Oscar Pistorius trial, which highlighted her commitment towards advancing South African women’s plight for a just society.

Not only were we compatriots and friends, but we supported each other as gender activists and I will always remember her strong advocacy towards the emancipation of women. She supported and played an active role in my appointment as National Champion for Women to the DOJ & CD. We understood our collective challenges, as her own domestic issues made headlines when her ex-husband was put on trial only to be acquitted.

We knew how women are challenged daily, and through my own challenges it became clear that something had to be done as the regulations and judicial processes did not serve women in time of crisis! This led inevitably to the breakdown experienced in families and the emotionally and financially taxed environments of single-parent households. Jacqui and I realized that apart from the obvious violent behaviour, courts found it difficult to deal with the varying forms of subtle violence women are subjected to, which made her a strong supporter of my appointment to break the senseless stereotyping which reigned in our country for so long.

As a strong advocate for the protection of women and children and vulnerable groups, Jacqui served her political organization and the country well. She was a great friend and always enwoven upon our family’s history. I will miss Jacqui dearly, my friend, my compatriot, always meticulous, humorous and present.

Francesca Fondse
National Champion for Women, to the DOJ & CD.

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