Presidency Mourns Founding Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Frene Ginwala

By Tshegofatso Makola

President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended his condolences to Dr. Frene Ginwala's family following her passing on Thursday night, 12 January 2023. Ginwala was the founding Speaker of South Africa’s first democratic Parliament known for her contribution to the struggle against gender oppression and the struggle for a non-sexist, non-racial, fair, and democratic South Africa.

As tributes pour in from different organisations across the country, the Presidency has extended its condolences to Dr. Ginwala's family, colleagues, and associates.

"On behalf of the nation and the legislative, executive, and judicial components of the State, the President offers his sincere condolences to Dr. Ginwala’s family, her nephews Cyrus, Sohrab and Zavareh, and their families,"  the Presidency said in a statement.

Born on 25 April 1932, Frene Noshir Ginwala played a significant role in the anti-apartheid struggle through her roles as a lawyer, academic, political leader, activist, and journalist. The election of the National Party into governance in 1948 saw the formalisation of segregation in the form of Apartheid and also arguably contributed to Ginwala's engagement in politics at a young age.

Ginwala later left the country to pursue a Bachelor of Laws in London before returning to South Africa in the 1950s to rise in the ranks of the ANC. Her influence at that time, though small, proved to be beneficial later when helping freedom fighters escape the country to go into exile and build the liberation movement from the outside.

With Ginwala's role in the liberation struggle being one that was so great, she was honoured with the Order of Luthuli in Silver in 2005. 

President Ramaphosa has since expressed that a giant among a special generation of leaders to whom we owe our freedom has been lost and that many benefits that South Africans enjoy have their origins in the legislative programme of the inaugural democratic Parliament that was under Dr. Ginwala’s leadership.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) has issued a statement explaining that the party's Secretary General, Fikile Mbalula, will be visiting the family home of Ginwala to pay homage and offer their condolences.

The family of Dr. Ginwala has since expressed their wishes to have a private funeral.

According to the Presidency, details of the official memorial event will be announced in due course.

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Dr. Frene Ginwala

President Ramaphosa



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