Mambeki - Humble servant of the people

By Drum Digital
16 June 2014

An Eastern Cape village is in mourning after the death of struggle stalwart Epaneitte Mbeki.

At Ngcingwana village near Idutywa in the Eastern Cape, she was known as a dedicated community builder, a pillar of strength and a shoulder to cry on. MaMbeki (98), as the villagers called her, died at the St Dominic’s Hospital in East London.

She was the mother of former President Thabo Mbeki and economist, businessman and political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki. Neighbours described her as a warm person who was very close to everyone in the village. She was universally admired for living an ordinary life among the rural folk even when her son, Thabo, became president of South Africa. S

he was down-to-earth and humble, but was also known for her stern side and her discipline and outspokenness. When her son was recalled as president in 2008, she joined the Congress of the People (COPE) and lambasted the ANC for betraying its roots. Shortly before the national elections, she welcomed former ANC Youth League leader and Economic Freedom Fighters president Julius Malema to her home in Idutywa.

She said she forgave Malema for the things he had said about her son before he was recalled. She even joked that she would have voted for the EFF if she was still young. Epainette Mbeki (nee Moerane) was married to struggle hero Govan Mbeki, who was accused number four and, at 53, the oldest of the 11 accused in the Rivonia Treason Trial. She was born in February 1916 in Mangoloaneng in the Mount Fletcher district of Transkei. She was the sister of Michael Mosoeu Moerane, a composer, pianist and choral director who was the first black person to obtain a BA music degree at the University of South Africa in 1941, with a distinction.

Read more in DRUM: 19 June 2014  

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