Cape Town, Parliament, 08 August 2020 – Parliament’s Presiding Officers, led by National Assembly Speaker Ms Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Mr Amos Masondo, are deeply saddened by the passing of anti-apartheid activist and veteran trade unionist Mr John Nkadimeng.
Ntate Nkadimeng, born in 1925 in Sekhukhuniland, Limpopo, served as democratic South Africa’s first Ambassador to Cuba. He comes from a generation of selfless, fearless and courageous combatants who waged a gallant fight against, and consequently collapsed, the brutal apartheid government.
He was one of the trade union movement’s foremost organic intellectual giants, a visionary leader who was unwavering in pursuit of the unity of the workers against the brutality and exploitation of the oppressive regime. He was instrumental in the formation of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and served as secretary-general of the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) from 1955 until the unbanning of all political parties in 1990. Despite the vicious persecutions and detentions – including for his role in the Defiance Campaign – Ntate Nkadimeng’s resolve and determination in the quest for freedom and equality could not be shaken.
For his contribution and dedication to the struggle for liberation, workers’ rights and the formation of a united federation of trade unions, President Cyril Ramaphosa bestowed him with the Order of Luthuli in Gold last year.
Said Presiding Officers, “We will forever be indebted to the sacrifices of Ntate Nkadimeng and his generation of gallant freedom fighters for the great sacrifices made in the protracted people’s struggle for the liberation of South Africa. His brave, fearless and defiant spirit, even in the face of death, must inspire future generations in the evolution of contemporary struggles. His selflessness, humility and bravery will forever be etched in our memories.”
“The passing of this iconic struggle hero is another painful loss of the great fountains of wisdom, dependable conscience of our nation and great treasures of our liberation history. We salute Ntate Nkadimeng for the good and glorious battle fought, and for the immense contribution to the freedom of South Africa.” added the Presiding Officers.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Nkadimeng Family, friends and comrades.
Robala ka Kgotso Seaparankwe