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Thursday, November 5, 2015


(Lauretta Ngcobo. Pic by Val Adamson courtesy of eThekwini Living Legends)

Honoured as an eThekwini Living Legend in 2012, writer Lauretta Ngcobo passed away in Pretoria on November 3.

Born in 1931 in Ixopo in KwaZulu-Natal, she later attended Fort Hare University. She was at the forefront of the women’s anti-pass marches in 1956 and was well known for her feminist writings throughout the 1950s and 60s – being critical both of apartheid and of Zulu traditions that restricted women’s freedom – although her work was first published in the 1980s.

Ngcobo married Pan Africanist Congress founder Abednego Bhekabantu Ngcobo. They went into exile in 1963, moving from Swaziland to Zambia and finally settling in England, where Ngcobo worked as a teacher for 25 years.

In 1994 she returned to South Africa where she served as a member of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial legislature. She wrote and published and delivered many academic papers but found writing for children gave her the greatest challenge as a writer. She received many awards in her lifetime including The Presidential Award: The National of Order of Ikhamanga in 2008.

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“I first met Lauretta in 2012 when we both became eThekwini Living Legends and we immediately struck up a friendship,” says artSMart editor, Caroline Smart. “She was a highly intelligent woman and had a lovely sense of humour. One of the memorable activities of that special day was to go to the dolphin pool at uShaka Marine to meet Gambit who slid up onto the side of the pool to welcome us. I remember how delighted Lauretta was to be able to get out of her wheelchair and be helped down to pat Gambit’s nose!

“I am honoured to have read two of her books for Tape Aids for the Blind: Cross of Gold (her first book written in 1981) and And They Didn’t Die (1990). The quality of her writing made each read a fulfilling experience. Rest in Peace, Lauretta.”

Lauretta Ngcobo’s other books include Let It Be Told: Black Women Writers in Britain (1987) and Fiki Learns to Like Other People (1994).

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JOHANNESBURG MEMORIAL: today (November 10) from 15h00 to 17h00 at Christ The King Anglican Church Hall, (Trevor Huddleston’s Church), 49 Ray, Street, Sophiatown.
DURBAN MEMORIAL:  Thursday, November 12, at 10h00 in St Pauls Anglican Church, 161 Monty Naicker Road  (formerly Pine Street) opposite the workshop.
UMZIMKULU FUNERAL SERVICE: November 14 at 09h00, Ibisi Township Sports Ground, Umzimkulu – take R56 from Pietermaritzburg until you reach Umzimkulu then its 21km to Ibisi. The family home is 124 Ibisi township

Accommodation contact numbers near Ibisi:
Ncalu River Lodge: 073 650 3362 9 (21km from Bisi)
Lalakhona Lodge:  039 259 0330 / 078 548 6196 (21km from Bisi)
Ingeli Forest Lodge 039 553 0600 (35km from Bisi)