No pol­i­tics, just good mem­o­ries

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - RAPULA MOAT­SHE

NO po­lit­i­cal speeches were made at the three-hour fu­neral of Strug­gle icon and union­ist Emma Mashinini, who died last week at the age of 87.

In­stead, mourn­ers who packed St Al­bans Cathe­dral in Pre­to­ria at her of­fi­cial pro­vin­cial fu­neral, shared their good mem­o­ries of her.

Among the dig­ni­taries were No­bel Prize win­ner Arch­bishop Emer­i­tus Des­mond Tutu; Gaut­eng MEC for Com­mu­nity Safety Siza­kele Nkosi-Malobane; for­mer trade union­ist and premier Mb­haz­ima Shilowa; and gen­eral sec­re­tary of the SA Fed­er­a­tion of Trade Unions, Zwelinz­ima Vavi.

In her hon­our, the Pres­i­dency had or­dered pro­vin­cial flags to fly at half­mast for the fu­neral.

Reverend Bar­ney Pityana, who de­liv­ered a sermon, eu­lo­gised Mashinini as a good friend and neigh­bour to many who knew her. “She was kind and gen­er­ous and was par­tic­u­lar about how she pre­sented her­self,” he said.

Mashinini was also de­scribed as an ac­tive and car­ing mem­ber of the con­gre­ga­tion, where she was also a “Strug­gle hero­ine and lived the values of the gospel”.

She was re­mem­bered for her role in the soup kitchen project for home­less peo­ple and a spe­cial col­lec­tion was taken up in her mem­ory.

Tutu said: “She was a won­der­ful per­son and al­ways shak­ing you up when you aimed too low. She was a won­der­ful mother and the fam­ily can be proud of her.”

Mourn­ers were told Mashinini was forced to leave school at 14 and to go to work. She was elected to the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Union of Cloth­ing Work­ers and also served as deputy chair­per­son of the Na­tional Man­power Com­mis­sion from 1993-1995. She be­came pres­i­dent of the Me­di­a­tion and Con­cil­i­a­tion Cen­tre in the 1990s.

Mashinini was fa­mously re­spon­si­ble for chang­ing the orig­i­nal de­sign of the Cosatu logo, which had ini­tially com­prised three men push­ing a wheel, to in­clude a woman in a doek, car­ry­ing a baby on her back.

PIC­TURE: BON­GANI SHILULBANE

FAREWELL, BRAVE SIS­TER: The fu­neral of Emma Thandi Mashinini was held at St Al­bans Cathe­dral in Pre­to­ria.

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