The Department of International Relations and Cooperation offers its condolences to the family of a pathfinder, combatant and freedom fighter: Mama Mittah Seperepere (Nee Goieman)

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has learned with great sadness the passing on of a gallant freedom fighter, a pathfinder of note and community builder. Mama Mittah Seperepere or Goeieman as she was affectionately known, lived most of her adult life in exile, having been forced to leave the country of her birth by the brutality of the infamous Apartheid regime.

Mama Mittah participated in sowing the seeds of the struggle for women emancipation and actively resisted the anti-pass laws by mobilizing women in the anti-pass laws campaigns. Inspired by the Programme of Action of 1949 of the ANC Youth League, Mama Mittah joined the League and got actively involved in the underground structures of the Movement. Her involvement earned her the wrath of the Special Branch, culminating in her imprisonment in 1965. Upon her release she was incorporated into the underground structures of the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto We Sizwe.

Having been exposed to the constant harassment by the apartheid regime, she, together with her husband Mr Maruping Seperepere, skipped the country into Botswana in 1966. It was from Botswana that they later relocated to Tanzania, from where she served in the Regional Political Committee of the ANC. She became the welfare officer and started a primary school at SOMAFCO (the ANC School in Tanzania).

After her husband’s passing on in 1981, Mama Mittah relocated to Lusaka (Zambia) where she joined the ANC’s Women’s Section. From 1983 until 1989, she served as a representative of the ANC Women’s Section at the Women’s International Democratic Federation based in the then German Democratic Republic.

Mama Mittah also represented Women’s liberation movements in the frontline countries, the English speaking African countries and the Portuguese speaking countries of Angola and Mozambique. In 1989, she was appointed ANC Chief Representative to Madagascar, La Reunion, Seychelles, Mauritius and the Comoros.

In 1990, with the unbanning of the ANC she returned to South Africa and fully participated in the ANC structures and mobilized the community of Majeng and surrounding areas. From 1994 until 1999, she served as a Member of the National Assembly and in 1999 declined to return to parliament because she believed younger comrades should be given the responsibility to further advance the struggle to emancipate our masses from poverty and unemployment. From then onwards, she became deeply involved with community development projects.

In conveying her words of comfort, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said that “DIRCO’s international and domestic work will continue to draw its inspiration, guidance, confidence and leadership, from people like Mama Mittah who were path-finders that made sure the world understood and appreciated our plight during those dark days of Colonialism of a Special Type”.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation wishes to convey its condolences to the Seperepere family and friends, as they mourn the passing of a giant who fought a good fight and whose legacy will be forever cherished.

Mama Mittah was born on the 28th December 1929, in Riverton. She passed on after a long illness on the 30th October 2010 and will be buried on November 6, 2010 in Kimberley.

May her soul rest in peace.

For further information please contact Mr Saul Kgomotso Molobi, Chief Director for Public Diplomacy at molobisk@foreign.gov.za or 082-940-1647. Additionally information can also be sourced from Ms Connie Seoposengwe on 083-255-8868 or Mr Saul Zamani on 083-230-3163.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

Public Diplomacy Branch
Private bag x 152
Pretoria
0001

November 4, 2010

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