The Congress of the People (COPE) and residents of Ngsingwane village in the Eastern Cape have commemorated political figure and community builder Namaki Epainet Mbeki. MaMbeki died at the age of 98 in 2014. She was one of the founders of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce.

MaMbeki led projects in Chingwana village to improve people’s lives. Lulama Sangku was one of those who worked on the MaMbeki projects. She says she learned skills that still benefit her and her family today.

Sangqu says: “COPE made us realize that our icons like MaMbeki we just let go and never remember their work. In this village we have a habit of forgetting what people have done and forgetting them. I would like to celebrate Mombeki by continuing to do what she did without destroying what she did.”

COPE member Funiwe Phatlho says MaMbeki worked tirelessly to help other people

“She worked tirelessly. She built a school. So we decided to come and say, Mom, we still remember you as the People’s Congress. Mambeki was a generous man. She did not discriminate against people. She worked with everyone in this village. She even created two cooperatives for women, where she taught them handicrafts,” Fatlo said.

COPE Deputy President Willy Masdisha says they will name some projects after MaMbeka.

“People are fighting, people don’t have jobs, people are poor, women are raped every day. All these things are unbearable, she has done a lot, she not only stayed to do her job because her husband was in prison and her children were exiled. She made a great contribution to ensuring that young people were able to work. At COPE, we are going to name some major projects after her,” Madisha added.

Although some of the projects Mambeka started no longer function, some residents remain inspired to carry on her legacy.

Video: COPE President Mosiuoa Lekota responds to calls for him to resign

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