She was called Comrade Stalwart by members of the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu).
She was Thandi Magcai, a teacher at Job Rathebe Junior Secondary in Orlando East.
The name was still being bandied around this week when the news of her death spread in the township of Soweto.
Magcai, 60, of Tulisa Park near Steeldale, died on Friday at the Brenthurst Clinic after a short illness.
Magcai, a card-carrying member of the SACP, was an influential member of Sadtu and was well-respected within the union ranks.
Jacob Chapatso, chairman of Sadtu in Soweto East, said Magcai was a doyen of the teachers' union.
"She participated in many campaigns to fight for equal rights, a single educational set-up in the country and also for a non-racial and non-sexist educational system,'' Chapatso said.
Magcai taught at various schools in the former Transkei and the Free State before taking a teaching position at Selelekela High School in Orlando East.
She moved to Job Rathebe in 1997, where she was based until her death last week.
She will be cremated on Monday at the Braamfontein Crematorium in a private ceremony planned for the family only.