Founding speaker of South Africa’s democratic Parliament, Dr Frene Ginwala, has died

Founding speaker of South Africa’s democratic Parliament, Dr Frene Ginwala, has died.

Ginwala passed away on Thursday night, at the age of 90, following a stroke, two weeks ago.

SUPPLIED; Founding speaker of South Africa’s democratic Parliament, Dr Frene Ginwala.

Born on April 25, 1932 in Johannesburg in what was then the Province of the Transvaal, her pursuit for social justice and equality began at a very early age.

‘’Even as a child, Dr Ginwala was conscious of the policies of colonial oppression and racial discrimination which amongst others denied children of her colour from attending certain racially exclusive schools. This did not sit well with her, and with the innocence of a child and boldness, confronted a principal of a white-only school, demanding to know why she couldn't be admitted into his school,’’ said parliament in a statement.

‘’Dr Ginwala was amongst revered, courageous and selfless revolutionaries who dedicated their entire life to the attainment of the free society we live in today.  As a torchbearer of our post-apartheid Parliament, Dr Ginwala was exceptional and instrumental in the formation of one of the most acclaimed democracies and one of the best constitutions in the world,’’ it added.

Between 1994 and 2004, Dr Ginwala served South Africa as the first Speaker of the National Assembly as the country ushered in a democratic country.

In 2005, Dr Ginwala was awarded the Order of Luthuli in Silver for her “excellent contribution to the struggle against gender oppression and her tireless contribution to the struggle for a non-sexist, non-racial, just and democratic society.”

‘’Her educated mind, talent, fearlessness and courage made her one of the assets in the liberation movement, engaging in various strategic anti-apartheid struggle programmes both domestically and internationally. An internationalist par excellence; Dr Ginwala exposed to the international community the crimes of the discredited, oppressive regime in South Africa through her sharp journalistic pen and as an Ambassador of the liberation movement in various countries,’’ said Parliament.

The Advisory Council and staff of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) said, ‘’South Africa has lost one of the greatest chamions for justice and constitutional accountability.’’

 “Frene was a fiercely independent-minded woman, who would never sacrifice her principles on the altar of political expediency. She provided CASAC with staunch support, and on a personal level, I was very fortunate to benefit from her mentorship over many decades. South Africa has lost one of its greatest champions for justice and constitutional accountability,’’ said CASAC executive secretary Lawson Naidoo.


Done By: Mitchum George


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