EKURHULENI – Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality’s executive mayor Clr Mondli Gungubele, together with the Premier of Gauteng David Makhura, unveiled the life size statue of Mama Bertha Gxowa in honour of her selfless contribution to the transformation of the country, particularly for women.
On Wednesday, August 19, scores of woman from all over the country converged at the Keditselana Cultural Village in Katlehong to honour the struggle stalwart’s life.
A bronze statue of Mam Bertha, as she was affectionately known, raising a triumphant right hand clenched in a fist to symbolise her solidarity with the courageous woman of South Africa in their stance against oppression and their historic march to the Union Building in 1956, stands in the Cultural Village in Vosloorus, as a constant reminder to the woman of today to carry the baton of fighting for the complete liberation of woman and children.
“The only way in which the future can make sense is when its foundation, which is history, is properly organised and documented. Unveiling this statue is a symbol of recording our authentic history,” said Gungubele.
As the nation observes August as women’s month, Mam Gxowa is remembered as a philanthropic figure who championed women’s agendas politically and socially. As a leader in the unionist campaigns to fight for the rights of female workers, she became a key figure as part of the planners of the historic march to the Union Buildings which ultimately led to the emancipation of women from the bondages of the apartheid regime.
“She was part of all the major historical campaigns in our history, from the Defiance Campaign of Unjust Laws in 1952, the formation of the Federation of South African Women in 1954, the adoption of the Freedom Charter in 1955, the staging of the historic Women’s March to the Union Buildings in 1956 and the 1957 Treason Trial,” said President Jacob Zuma at her funeral in 2010.
Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Molebatsi Bopape said: “It is our responsibility as women to play our role in the community, not just in the kitchen, but by being at the centre of the economy, that’s the ideal Mam Bertha fought for.”
Gxowa was born in Germiston and died at the age of 76 in November 2010. Her grave site, situated at the Thomas Titus Nkobi Memorial Park in Boksburg, was declared a Heritage Site by the Provincial Heritage Resource Authority of Gauteng in 2014.