Minister led from the front

In its tribute to the late Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, the ANC Youth League described her as "a distinguished leader and cadre".

In its tribute to the late Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, the ANC Youth League described her as "a distinguished leader and cadre".

Cosatu described her as "a pioneer for woman empowerment", who among others formed the Women's Development Foundation.

Matsepe-Casaburri, who was born in Kroonstad in the then Orange Free State on September 18, 1937, died at the Pretoria Academic Hospital on Monday night due to organ failure.

She was 71 years old.

She was a teacher for 12 years - two years in KwaZulu-Natal and 10 years in Swaziland. She lived in exile for 25 years until she returned to South Africa in 1990. She was then appointed minister of communications on June 17, 1999 - a position she held until her death.

Matsepe-Casaburri is regarded as a pioneer of women empowerment in South Africa, being the first woman to be appointed premier of the Free State in 1996 - a position she held until 1999.

She was also the first woman and black person to chair the SABC, and the first woman to be appointed to the Board of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Matsepe-Casaburri was also the founding member of the Board of the Women's Development Foundation.

Her other career achievements include being a senior lecturer and registrar at the UN Institute for Namibia.

She also taught as an associate professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, US.

Upon her return from exile, she was appointed executive director of the Education Development Trust.

She became active in the education movement and in the fields of gender, economic development, local government and the technology sector.

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