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South Africa’s first post-apartheid democratic parliament dies at age 90

Frene Ginwala, the speaker of South Africa’s first post-apartheid democratic parliament has died aged 90.

The constitutional expert, feminist and journalist passed away at her home on Thursday night, two weeks after suffering a stroke.

Ginwala was associated with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and campaigned against apartheid policies under white minority rule. She returned to South Africa in 1990 after 31 years in exile after a ban on the ANC was lifted.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the passing of the formidable patriot on Friday.

He said the country has lost another giant among a special generation of leaders to whom they owe their freedom and to whom they owe the commitment to keep building the South Africa to which they devoted their all.

Ginwala was appointed speaker of the National Assembly in 1994 when Nelson Mandela was elected president marking the end of decades of white rule. She was the first woman to hold the post and did so until 2004.

Born in 1932 in Johannesburg to South Africa’s Indian community, Ginwala studied law in the United Kingdom.
Ginwala’s life was changed by the 1960 Sharpeville tragedy when police killed 69 demonstrators protesting against the discriminatory “pass law” requiring Black youths to carry a passbook which was designed to segregate the population.

In the 1970s, she became a prominent figure in international media, travelling around the world to muster support for the anti-apartheid movement and draw attention to abuses against the Black majority population.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation described her as a “stalwart of struggle” and offered condolences to family and friends. AL JAZEERA

Procyon News

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