Molebatsi Masedi is a Polokwane, Limpopo based proponent of radical socio-economic transformation. Tweeter: @MolebatsiMasedi
In 2007 Mama Joyce Mashamba was elected to the central committee of the South African Communist Party (SACP). At the SACP 14th national congress held in July 2017 the Party honoured her with its highest honour, the Moses Kotane Award for her revolutionary resilience and dedicated and unbroken service to the struggle for an end to capitalist exploitation.
Her work in the legislature during the democratic dispensation started in the deployment to the National Assembly. Her husband George would join her later when he assumed his seat in the senate, the second house of Parliament which would be disestablished and replaced by the current National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
In the province she would be trusted with every position in the executive council, bar one or two positions. She also served as the deputy speaker of the Limpopo provincial legislature.
She would be trusted with various executive council positions which included sport, arts and culture, provincial treasury, education, safety and security, social development, and agriculture and rural development.
In all these areas of deployment she acquitted herself with distinction. It is because of her service with distinction that she was appointed in every Limpopo provincial executive council and under four premiers – Ngwako Ramathlodi, Sello Moloto, Cassel Mathale and currently Stanley Mathabatha.
Her last port of call in the Limpopo executive council was during the recent provincial cabinet reshuffle which saw her move from the Department of Social Development to Agriculture and Rural Development. In Agriculture and Rural Development she would be at the heart of driving land expropriation without compensation.
True to character, Mama Joyce would be more than equal to the challenge of giving back land to the people and thereby restore their dignity. Only that sickness got to her. She would never really be functional to the day she breathed her last.
Mama Joyce may be gone, but she leaves behind a legacy that if circulated widely it will teach the country where we come from and how we attained our freedom and democracy. Such a body of thought and knowledge would close the gap between the past and the present.
Speaking at a state memorial service the Mashamba’s former colleague, neighbour and friend, Dr Arnold Msimeki dared the family and the organisations Mama Joyce belonged, to collate her legacy in writing and other media to immortalise her life and times for posterity to eternity.
In line with her stature and contributions during the struggle and in the era of radical socio-economic transformation, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared her funeral a Provincial Official Funeral and sent Minister Jeff Radebe to deliver a eulogy on his behalf at the Mashamba’s ancestral village of Mulamula, Collins Chabane local municipality, Vhembe district.
High profile speakers who were at hand to extol her virtues included Radebe himself, former president Jacob Zuma, deputy secretary general of the ANC Jessie Duarte, ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini and SACP general secretary Dr Blade Nzimande.
Former president Zuma said Mama Joyce saw it all in the cause of struggle and that the Mashambas were an outstanding family. Going further he said she distinguished herself well during the struggle, and was very brave.
The last word must go to a member of the Limpopo provincial legislature Rudolph Phala. During a special sitting of the legislature to pay tribute to her Phala described Mama Joyce as the mother of the angry young lions of the 80s.