No politics, just good memories
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.
FAREWELL, BRAVE SISTER: The funeral of Emma Thandi Mashinini was held at St Albans Cathedral in Pretoria.