The month August holds a specific significance in the consciousness of our nation, it is that time of the year where we give more prominence than any other month to the resilience, courageousness and steadfastness of women the torch bearers of our aspirations and dreams.
It is these women who made it possible for a young black woman like me to articulate, speak my truth and stand my ground. It would be very weird for me not to celebrate these women and their work. I am here because of them.
Among these South African Heroines is the beautiful Mme Victoria Nonyamezelo Mxenge, may her spirit continue to live on in our hearts and may her legacy continue to shine on in the lives of those it was meant to empower and change for the better.🖤
Mme Victoria Nonyamezelo Mxenge was born in the Eastern Cape (King Williams Town) in 1942, mama then trained as a nurse and midwife in Alice and ended up working for the Umlazi clinic which is not so far from EThekwini by then she was already a wife to uTat’Griffiths Mxenge who was already a committed member of the Ancyl. While studying for his LLB his studies were interrupted by the same system that was against any progressive black south african back in 1967 he was convicted for being a member of a banned organization and was sentenced to two years imprisonment on Robben Island. After his release he returned to complete his degree and then opened his own law firm in Durban, he was a well-known civil rights lawyer who fearlessly defended victims of the apartheid state, this was a nightmare the constant persecution by the apartheid state meant he was frequently harassed, detained and banned.
Mme Victoria continued working as a nurse and midwife whilst studying for her Qualification in law also taking care of their young family. In 1981 mama was admitted as an attorney after serving articles in her husband’s law firm, the two worked side-by-side. This did not sit well with the apartheid state and they resorted to abducting Tat’Mxenge they brutally beat him up and stabbed him 43 times before dumping his mutilated body near a soccer field in Umlazi they assasinated him in November 1981, Mama then had to go and identify her husband’s mutilated body at a government mortuary the morning after his gruesome murder. To further prove the systems rot and its ruthlessness the very same Coetzee tried to shift the blame onto the ANC thinking she’d be stupid and fall for their lie only for uMama to refute the claim and the ANC issued a public statement from Lusaka decrying the murder of one of their own, paying tribute to Tat’Mxenge’s contribution in the struggle. It was clear that her husband was killed by askari together with the officers selected by Coetzee himself who was the commander of the vlaakplaas death sqaud.
Mme Victoria Nonyamezelo Mxenge refused to let the death of her husband stop her from fighting for freedom, justice, peace and democracy in South Africa. She carried on with the law practice and often intervened to protect the youth who were ill-treated whilst in detention, she started a Bursary fund in memory of her husband also becoming a member of the ‘Release Nelson Mandela Committee’, the National Organization of Women and was also the Natal Treasurer of the UDF. Through her activism Mama tackled the apartheid regime inspiring and grooming a young man who would become one of South Africa’s legal practition practitioners like the Senior Adv. Muzi Sikhakhane.
In 1985, mama was invited to speak at the funeral of:Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkhonto and Sicelo Mhlauli who were known as the Cradock 4 the funeral was attended by 50 000 mourners to mark the death of activists who had been murdered by the security police, this was where she gave one of the most memorable addresses as she delivered a powerful message to the thousands of mourners and anti-apartheid activists at the funeral which was held in the Eastern Cape.
A month later on the 1st of August in 1985 four men attacked Mme Victoria in the driveway of her home in Umlazi, they murdered her in front of her children. Her death sparked massive protests and clashes with the police which left many injured.
When a formal inquest was requested the magistrate refused a formal inquest hearing into Mama’s death and they argued she died from Injuries to the head also stating that her killers were anonymous. I hate the system and all those it groomed to continue with their disgusting traditions. We were robbed!
Despite what this magistrate did, the TRC report on the assassination documents of Mme Victoria Nonyamezelo Mxenge a Marvin Sefako (Alias Bongi Raymond Malinga) was allegedly recruited by brigadier Peter Swanepoel’s security branch and this Swanepoel was his handler.. This man also confessed to killing uMama he claimed to have shot her 5 times in the chest and then chopped her with an axe next to her dining room door… The TRC records do not show if anyone ever applied or was granted amnesty for killing Mme Victoria Mxenge.
Mama’s death had a huge impact on many and the fact that she was brutally murdered before the trial where she was part of the defense team… she did not live to witness the fruits of her efforts in putting the evidence together as part of preparations for defence- all fingers point towards the apartheid system this was all their doing. The international community including the Reagan administration condemned the incident.
Tat’Mxenge and Mme Mxenge are buried next to one another at the Rayi Cemetery near King Williams Town.
In 2006 they were posthumously awarded the order of Luthuli in silver for their contribution to the field of law and the Supreme sacrifice they paid in the fight against the Apartheid regime in our country.
The system may have Stripped you from us Mama, but they could not erase the work you did and the impact you had on our lives you paved the way for young lionesesses like myself to roar without fear or favor, it’s a pity they tried to erase you from our history shoving Gandhi down our throats as if you never existed they failed dismally at that, we shall continue where you left off and share stories such as these I shall! Long live the undying spirit of Mama Victoria Nonyamezelo Mxenge long live!
4 thoughts on “Mme Victoria Nonyamezelo Mxenge”
Wow I did not know about her, thank you for this sisi.
LikeLiked by 1 person
You are more than welcome, this is part of why these stories need to be retold so we are reminded of who we are and the women who made today possible for us since the system only feeds us with information about their faves.
I died at the “Gandhi was shoved down our throats” he really was but not the Mxenge’s 0lease do a Charlotte Maxeke one aswell Sis.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I will Queen, and thank you for lending us your eyes 😂✨
Comments are closed.