Nzimande fondly remembers ‘very caring’ mother

2017-06-14 13:45
Nozipho Nzimande (90), who lived in Dambuza in Edendale, died on Sunday.

Nozipho Nzimande (90), who lived in Dambuza in Edendale, died on Sunday. (Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tributes are pouring in following the death of Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande’s mother.

Nozipho Nzimande (90) died on Sunday following a short illness. Mama Nzimande, as she was affectionately known, was living in Dambuza but was originally from the Eastern Cape.

Speaking to The Witness, Nzimande said his mother had trained at the All Saints Teachers’ College in Engcobo Village and started teaching in 1948.

“She was a teacher for just over a decade. She came to Pietermaritzburg in 1952 to join her mother ‘MaRadebe’ who had settled in Dambuza and they were the first teachers who opened Mthethomusha Primary School in 1956. In 1959 she got married to my father, Phillip Nzimande.”

Mama Nzimande’s employment as a teacher was terminated by the apartheid government after she got married.

“In 1959 they terminated her services because once black women were married they got retrenched and became temporary teachers. The assumption was the government didn’t want to pay [for] maternity leave.”

In the early 1960s Mama Nzimande was hired as a nursing assistant by the apartheid government. In her youth Mama Nzimande had wanted to go to Fort Hare.

“Her family was poor and all she could get was a sponsorship to study teaching and she never had a chance to go to Fort Hare. She took a vow that when she had children they will go to university. I am a beneficiary of her determination,” said Nzimande.

Nzimande said his mother had borrowed money from a loan shark to pay for his first year of study in 1976.

“It took her almost the whole year to pay that money back. She went back again to get another loan to pay for my education in 1977.

“As her eldest son she used to talk to me and say never sell your dignity. Your dignity is valueless; you can’t put money on it. Secondly, as a staunch Christian she told me to be careful about money because it was the source of all evil. She was a very caring mother.” Nzimande praised his mother for supporting him and understanding his involvement in the anti-apartheid struggle.

“I remember a time in 1982 when we organised a bus boycott in Pietermaritzburg and I was detained for six to eight hours. She asked someone to drive my car and look for me in virtually all the police stations in Maritzburg. Ultimately in the evening when I was released she broke down and cried but never deterred me from continuing with the struggle.”

Nzimande said although his mother was not a hard-core activist she always opened her home to people who were fleeing political violence in the ’80s.

She will be buried on Saturday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.