Amina Cachalia was a terrific person who touched the lives of many people, the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation said on Friday.
Cachalia, who was a long-time friend of former president Nelson Mandela, died on Thursday at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg. She was 82.
"Amina was so concerned about poor people that as a result when her husband Yusuf passed on, she donated some of her husband's clothing to Mrs [June] Mlangeni for distribution among the poor in Soweto," the foundation said.
"We convey our condolences to her family, friends and comrades. We understand how difficult this time must be for them. We know how much comrade Amina Cachalia meant to you".
Cachalia was born on June 28, 1930, in Vereeniging and was the ninth child in a family of 11 children.
Her family's tradition of political activism dates back to her father Ebrahim Asvat's close association with Mahatma Gandhi -- who is considered the father of the Indian nation -- and the first passive resistance campaign of 1907.
Cachalia went to school in Durban and returned to Johannesburg towards the end of 1947, when she started a number of jobs, including one as a secretary in a garment factory.
She was elected an MP in the National Assembly, in the first democratic elections of 1994.
Ten years later, she received the Order of Luthuli in bronze for her lifetime contribution to the struggle for gender equality, non-racism and a free and democratic South Africa.