MME RUTH MOMPATI, a life of courage and service

: Serote (M.)

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344pp., b/w & colour illus., paperback, Cape Town, 2023


Foreword by former President Thabo Mbeki. 

South African politician Ruth Segomotsi Mompati (1925 – 2015) worked as a teacher until 1952, when her teaching position was terminated, as apartheid laws prohibited married black women from teaching. From 1953 to 1961 she worked as a typist for Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo in their law practice in Johannesburg.

In 1954, she became a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC Women’s League, was one of the founding members of the Federation of South African Women, and one of the organisers of the 1956 Women's March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

In 1990, Mompati was chosen to be part of the ANC delegation that negotiated the peaceful transition to democracy with the South African government. She was elected as a Member of Parliament in South Africa's 1994 election, and served in the National Assembly until 1996, when she was appointed ambassador to Switzerland. On her return from Switzerland in 2000 she was elected mayor of Vryburg, North West Province, where she was born.

Poet, novelist, political activist and ANC Member of Parliament, Mongane Wally Serote (b. 1944) is the National Poet Laureate of South Africa. He is the recipient of the Pablo Neruda Award from the Chilean government (2004), the Order of Ikhamanga (Silver) for his contribution to literature (2007), and the Golden Wreath Award for his achievements in the field of poetry (2012). His many books include the novel To Every Birth Its Blood and the poetry collections Yakhal'nkomo (Ingrid Jonker Prize) and Third World Express (Noma Award for Publishing in Africa).