A spear of the struggle has fallen

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The ANC in Mpumalanga has described the passing of Thoko Regalda Mabena, a member of the provincial legislature, as "the falling of the spear".

Mabena died while on an official trip to Australia on April 20 after a short illness.

Born on November 12 1962 in Vrede, Free State, Mabena started her primary education at the Roman Catholic School.

She then proceeded to the Evungwini High School where she completed her secondary education.

Comrade Thoko, as she was affectionately known, was one of the young people who did not enjoy their youth because of apartheid.

The hostile system of the apartheid regime forced her to get involved in the struggle for liberation at a tender age.

She worked as an administrator for the then Chemical Workers Industrial Union (CWIU) shortly after completing high school.

In 1987 she occupied leadership positions at CWIU and the National Women's Forum of which she was also a founder member.

In 1990, Mabena started serving in different structures of the ANC and the ANC Women's League in Mpumalanga. She was elected a member of the ANC provincial executive committee in 1994.

Mabena served two terms as the chairman of the provincial ANC Women's League in 1997 and 2003.

In 1994 Mabena joined the Mpumalanga legislature. Four years later Mabena was appointed deputy speaker for the Mpumalanga legislature - a position she held until 1999.

After the 1999 and 2004 elections she continued to serve in the Mpumalanga legislature. She served in various portfolio committees including those of finance, economic affairs, local government, housing and land administration.

Mabena was also chairman and deputy chairman of the select committee to improve the quality of life and status of women.

She is survived by her husband, Jacob Mabena and four children: Zoleka, Nokuthula, Lunga and Lwazi.

She will be buried at the heroes site of the Nelspruit cemetery on Saturday. The service will be held at the Nelspruit Hoër Skool.