The only female member of the pressure group Ibhetshu Likazulu, Stephanie Cleopatra Tshuma, has died.
She was 29.
Ibhetshu Likazulu spokesperson Mqondisi Moyo told NewsDay on Thursday that Tshuma died of heart failure on June 18 at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Tshuma has been a member of Ibhetshu since 2006 when she got to know about the organisation through reading stories on the Internet. She was in South Africa then. She was inspired by the stories she read and she came all the way from South Africa to be a member of Ibhetshu Likazulu.
“From that day up to the time of her death, she has been a full-time member of Ibhetshu Likazulu. She worked very hard. She was a lady, but stood shoulder to shoulder with her male counterparts in pushing the Ibhetshu Likazulu agenda. She put all her commitment into the organisation and encouraged other activists a lot,” he said.
Moyo said Tshuma demystified the stereotype that activism was for men.
“She was a selfless leader. In all the problems we have been through, she has been there and stood firm with us. As Ibhetshu Likazulu, we have lost a courageous leader who wanted to see Matabeleland going forward. She did not want to see people from other regions dominate and dictate the pace in this region. She was not apologetic. She was clear,” he said.
Tshuma is survived by her husband Dumiso Matshazi, two children Nkonsenhle (10) and Thandeka Stephanie, a one-month-old baby.
Mourners are gathered at number 18 Spencer Road in Malindela.
Moyo said Tshuma will likely be buried on Friday (Thursday) as her body left South Africa on Tuesday morning.