Saturday, June 02, 2007

South African Women Recount Oral History With Former President Mandela

JOHANNESBURG 30 May 2007 Sapa


Four women who played major roles in the anti-apartheid struggle shared their memories with former President Nelson Mandela and an audience of about 50 people at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The foundation said that Sophia Williams de Bruyn, Amina
Cachalia, Rica Hodgson and Ntombemhlophe Bam recalled how they had sold scones and knitted to raise money to transport women to the 1956 women's march.

"These ladies played a key ... role in the struggle. Some of us can't measure up to the sacrifices they made," Mandela was quoted as saying in a foundation statement.

The dialogue - organised by the foundation's Centre of Memory
and Dialogue - was convened to coincide with an exhibition named 'Malibongwe' - translated as we thank the women.

Malibongwe was on display at the foundation offices and
incorporated black and white photographs of women activists.

Activists Bertha Gxozwa and Vesta Smith were also in the

After the dialogue, Hodgson said that she was appalled that
young people did not know about the struggle.

"They don't know of the treason trial [for which she raised
funds for the defendants] and of the People's Congress. We need to record our stories for history, and not for ourselves," she said.

Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, who was also in the audience,
said: "This kind of dialogue should continue. You can write a book, but there's nothing that replaces direct contact and conversation."

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