President Cyril Ramaphosa is deeply saddened by the passing of veteran activist and Esteemed Member of the Order of the Baobab Mam Sally Motlana.
Mrs Motlana passed away on Saturday, 24 June 2023, at the age of 96.
President Ramaphosa offers his deep condolences to the Motlana and Maunye families who share this loss, as well friends and comrades of the late community leader.
Born in Pilgrim’s Rest in the then Eastern Transvaal, Mrs Motlana lived in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, from an early age.
She studied at Fort Hare and – in addition to being elected Secretary of the African National Congress Youth League in 1951 – worked as a teacher until 1954, when she resigned from her post as part of the Defiance Campaign’s rejection of the newly introduced Bantu Education.
She was instrumental in the South African Council of Churches’ adoption of a public stand against apartheid and went on to serve as President of the Black Housewives League for 20 years.
Under Mam Motlana’s leadership the League undertook a number of development projects in education and food security in communities around Limpopo and Soweto.
President Ramaphosa said: “We are mourning the loss of a stalwart whose extended lifetime is a canvas of the history of our Struggle.”
“Mam Sally Motlana was a fearless and resolute opponent of oppression, and a deeply spiritual and empathetic builder and organiser of communities who suffered under apartheid.”
“Mam Sally endured arrests and harassment from a system that reserved the greatest disadvantage and dehumanisation for black women but remained steadfast in her belief that apartheid would be overcome.”
“Today, as we continue to confront the legacy of the system she fought against, we should emulate Mam Motlana’s dedication to building self-sustaining and caring communities.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Presidency: Republic of South Africa.