Defiance Campaign's Rebecca Kotane dies a few days before her 109th birthday

Rebecca Kotane has died, aged 108.
Rebecca Kotane has died, aged 108.
Image: Parliament

Anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Rebecca Kotane died on Sunday, the ANC has confirmed.

Kotane was the widow of SA Communist Party leader Moses Kotane.

The ANC said in a statement her death came a few days before her 109th birthday.

“Mme Kotane was a comrade in her own right. She was one of the oldest stalwarts of our movement. She was the only remaining elder of the movement who was also the same age as the ANC.

“She will be remembered for her role in the defiance campaigns of the 1950s and the mobilisation towards the Congress of the People in 1955,” the ANC said in a statement.

Parliament's presiding officers said Kotane “comes from a selfless and brave generation of women who were at the forefront of bringing about a democratic, non-racial and free SA”.

“She was for many years a thorn in the side of the brutal apartheid system, and boldly confronted its rulers — including taking the battle to their doorstep during the historic 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings. It is fearless women like Mme Kotane who rejected the status quo and inspired generations of freedom fighters, who made the democracy we enjoy today possible.

“We continue to be inspired by the unwavering and bold resolve of Mme Kotane, and we will not rest until all forms of injustice, particularly against women and girl-children, are eliminated. We pledge to honour her contribution to our struggle for a better life for all by continuing to strengthen and deepen our democracy and all its instruments.”

Moses Kotane died in Moscow on May 19 1978. His remains were repatriated to SA in 2015.

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