Presdient mourns passing of heroic Nyameka Goniwe

Nyameka Goniwe at the National Teaching Awards 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed his condolences to the friends and family of the Inxuba Yethemba Municipality speaker, Nyameka Goniwe.

The 69-year-old Goniwe, a social worker by profession, passed away in her Eastern Cape hometown of Cradock on Saturday, 29 August 2020, after a brief illness.

Goniwe was married to the late struggle activist Matthew Goniwe.


“The passing of Nyameka Goniwe is a great loss to all of us. Her passing during Women’s Month draws our attention and respect once more to the leadership capability and bravery of women in our society.

“While Nyameka Goniwe suffered harassment under apartheid and was brutally deprived of her life partner, she was unbowed by the inhumane excesses of apartheid,” said President Ramaphosa.

Thirty-five years ago, after a period of sustained harassment of her family by security police, Goniwe suffered the loss of her husband, Matthew, at the hands of a police hit squad.

Security operatives targeted Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sicelo Mhlauli, and Sparrow Mkhonto, known as the Cradock Four.

“She waged her struggle in her own right and, true to her values and those of Matthew Goniwe, she devoted her contribution to a democratic South Africa to the betterment of the lives of the communities in which she lived.

“She played various leadership roles in local government in the service of her community and exemplified ethical leadership that put people first,” said the President.

Nyameka and Matthew Goniwe had a daughter, Nobuzwe, and a son, Nyaniso.

The President extended his sympathies to the Goniwe and Puwani families, friends of the struggle veterans, residents of Cradock, and the leadership of the Chris Hani District Municipality and Inxuba Yethemba local municipality.

“Cradock’s loss is South Africa’s loss but Nyameka Goniwe will live on in our history and in her enduring legacy of struggle, service, and the inspiration and upliftment of communities,” said President Ramaphosa. 


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