Premier Nomvula Mokonyane pays respect to fallen struggle veteran Ellen Lambert
13 Apr 2012
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane has expressed shock at this week’s passing away of Ellen Lambert, whom she described as “a heroine of our struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa.”
Mokonyane said that even during the most difficult of times, Lambert never relented in her resolve to achieve justice.
“Having known and worked with Mama Ellen for many years, I felt it was worth adding my testimony that her death is not just a loss to her immediate family members and the African National Congress (ANC) in which she had served with great distinction for 59 years,” said Mokonyane. “Her death is a huge loss to the whole of South Africa too”.
She added: “Her quest for justice and freedom in our country saw Mama Ellen joining the ANC as a young woman at a tender age of 19. Since then she continued leading the fight against apartheid from the front despite all the risks that often came with being in opposition of the injustices of that time.”
Mokonyane also hailed the freedom struggle stalwart saying since joining the ANC in 1953; Lambert dedicated her entire life to serving the people of South Africa and various Gauteng communities.
Lambert was also among the key volunteers in the build up to the adoption of the Freedom Charter in 1955.
“While on one hand she had to deal with the challenge of starting a new family life here in Gauteng, she continued serving the interest of the people taking demanding political tasks such as that of mobilising White, Coloured and Indian communities against the tri-cameral parliamentary system which excluded African people in the 1980s.
“Despite continued harassment by the apartheid security police, she continued her fight for freedom until the unbanning of the ANC in 1990 after which she focused her energies on helping to build functional ANC structures in many Coloured and Indian communities around Gauteng.” Mokonyane said.
Recently, despite being in her late 70s, she joined hundreds of people who publicly protested against the harassment of young women wearing mini-skirts in some of the taxi ranks in the country including here in Gauteng.
“We should all take pride in that she leaves us behind in a much better country than what South Africa was when Mama Ellen was born in the 1930s.Her death is also a challenge to the living, to stand up, pick up her spear and continue with the fight for a just society.
“On behalf of the Gauteng government, I convey my deepest sadness about losing such a dedicated citizen of our country and I would like to send my condolences to her family as well,” Mokonyane said.
Lambert was born in 1934 at Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape.
She died on Wednesday, 11 April 2012.
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Issued by: Gauteng Office of the Premier
13 Apr 2012
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