Johannesburg – The widow of the late president of the PAC, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe – Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe – had her discharge from hospital delayed because she could not get her medication on time after a mix-up at the in house chemist.
Mama Sobukwe, 91, has been at the Midland Hospital in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape for three weeks.
Her son, Dini Sobukwe, said, “the strongest woman I’ve ever known in my life”, was still frail.
In April, Mama Sobukwe, affectionately known as the “Mother of Azania”, was awarded the Order of Luthuli.
Her son, who is also executive director at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Trust (RMST), received the award on her behalf due to her advanced age.
This year also marks the 40th commemoration of the death under banishment of her husband, the founding president of the PAC.
It pains him that his mother, who has always been able to do things for herself and run her own errands, is now helpless and has to depend on others, says Dini.
He recalls the strength and resilience of Ma Sobukwe who, each time the children were packed away to boarding school in Lesotho, would help carry most of their luggage: “At some point she broke her right arm as she lugged trunks – one on her head and helping me carry another,” says an emotional Dini.
He said the family still lived in Mofolo, Soweto, at the time.
Even in her dotage, his mother does a lot of the household chores herself. “She cooks her own food.”
He says he’s never looked at his mother in terms of her age, but is just sad to see her gradually losing her independence.
He laments the fact that his mother is pumped full of medication by the staff at Midland Hospital.
A nurse in her working life, Dini is adamant his mother would have chosen otherwise if she had the option, not the battery of tablets he complains about.
There has been a steady stream of PAC members making their way to Graaff-Reinet to see the ‘Mother of Azania,’ Dini says.