It is with sadness that we learned of the untimely passing of Honourable Thuliswa Nkabinde-Khawe, the MEC for Social Development, the SANCO Provincial Leader, the wife, the mother and the daughter.

I stand with a deep hole in my heart, surely there are no adequate words or emotions that can capture who this woman was. Gauteng has indeed lost a gentle leader, a patriot and a dedicated servant of the people. I have lost a fellow activist who believed in pragmatic politics that solves the problems faced by the poor and the neglected.

We all know that she was a celebrated activist from a tender age, joining ACTSTOP, a civic organization, in the 1980s where she held multiple leadership positions and also participated in the formation of South African National Civic Organization (SANCO). Added to that we all recognise that she is and will forever be known as one of Gauteng’s greatest leaders given her impeccable track record in numerous committees including the Standing Committee of Public Accounts (SCOPA), Public Transport and Social Development.

In her lifetime, MEC Thuliswa Nkabinde-Khawe was such a cheerful and invigorating presence that one would easily forget the daunting historic tasks she had set herself. She sought to mend the wounded spirits of all Gauteng citizens, to transform the lives of the poor and vulnerable, and to help restore hope and dignity.

These were causes hard to accomplish, yet they were pursued with great enthusiasm and passion and because she was a level-headed but resolute, humble leader. And I am certain that it is that humility that has earned her our love and profound deep respect.

I can safely say that Gauteng is a much better place thanks to no small part played by this remarkable tigress of extraordinary calibre. She dedicated her life to fighting for a free, just and equitable society, thus her passing this past Friday has been disturbing, if not tragic. Her burning passion and luminous fire led her to empty herself completely to ensure that the lives of the vulnerable and voiceless in our society are changed.

Todd Waggner could not have been more spot-on in his analysis that one can never be emotionally prepared for a loss of a loved one. He says, and I quote:

We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast. But when we say this, we imagine that the hour is placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon – this afternoon which is so certain, and which has every hour filled in advance.

Indeed, there is nothing that could have prepared us for this heart-breaking loss more so because we were looking forward to working with Honourable Nkabinde-Khawe in her newly appointed position as the political head of the Social Development portfolio. It was our hope that she would employ her selfless leadership style in making this portfolio work.

Be that as it may, let us not be sad, she walked her path and ran her race the best way she could. She reached her destiny and served her purpose. So, let’s celebrate the gift of life that was borrowed to us and thank her family for selflessly sharing their daughter to enable Gauteng to create a better life we aspire for all our people. Let us keep her legacy alive by making sure that we continue to advocate for the rights of the poor, women, children and vulnerable.

On behalf of the IFP, I wish to convey our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Hon. Nkabinde-Khawe. We are saying to you, feel not fallen and helpless. We stand by you in this hour of bereavement and distress. Come, give us your hand and let’s rise from this dark period with courage and hope.

To her comrades in the ANC, her husband and ANC’s Provincial Secretary, Hon. Jacob Khawe, the people of Gauteng Province and South Africa as a whole, the Inkatha Freedom Party takes this moment to pass its profound and sincerest condolences for the loss of this remarkable woman personified.

Bonginkosi Dhlamini MPL
IFP Gauteng Provincial Chairperson
082 565 3571