CARING PARENT: Nomkitha Virginia Mashinini. Pic. Unknown.
CARING PARENT: Nomkitha Virginia Mashinini. Pic. Unknown.

Ido lekota

The mother of Tsietsi Mashinini, the leader of the 1976 Soweto students uprising, has died.

Nomkitha Virginia Mashinini, 73, died at the Lesedi Clinic in Diepkloof yesterday morning after a short illness

Tsietsi was a student at Morris Isaacson High school when he led the students march on June 16 1976. He died while in exile in Guinea in 1990.

Tsietsi skipped the country at 15 with some of his siblings. Out of panic, the mother travelled to Swaziland to ensure the safety of her sons and to make arrangements for them to continue with their education while in exile.

On her return she was detained in Standerton, Mpumalanga, by apartheid security police.

She was held in solitary confinement while in detention.

Mashinini was continuously interrogated about the whereabouts of her sons and what political activities they were involved in. She was blamed for the student uprisings in Soweto and accused of being an irresponsible mother without control over her children. When she was finally released from prison, without being charged, she had lost her job.

The management was fearful that she was going to bring a "bad terrorist and communist influence" to the staff.

She never found employment again, except at the charitable organisation Meals on Wheels, a feeding scheme for the poor run by the Methodist Church.

Mashinini, nee Botho, was born on May 9 1935, in the rural Bengu village of Lady Frere in the former Transkei.

She married Ramothibi Joseph Mashinini in 1955. They were blessed with 13 children.

The family now lives in Pimville, after moving from Central Western Jabavu. She is survived by nine children and 35 grandchildren.

She will be buried at the Avalon Cemetery on October 1 after a service at the Pimville Library Hall in Zone 4.