Nelson Mandela Bay’s ANC regional headquarters, the Standard House, was yesterday officially renamed Florence Matomela House in a ceremony attended by top ANC Women’s League leaders and Eastern Cape government. Among those who attended the event were ANC Women’s League president Angie Motshekga, ANC national executive committee member Bathabile Dlamini, ANC provincial deputy chairperson Gugile Nkwinti and ANC regional leaders.
The ceremony started with a church service and wreath laying ceremony held at New Brighton. The delegation then proceeded to Zwide cemetery for the unveiling ceremony.
Matomela, a teacher, anti-pass activist and civil rights campaigner was born in Port Elizabeth in 1910.
In the mid ’50s, Matomela became the Cape organiser of the African National Congress Women’s League and vice-president of the Federation of South African Women.
She was among the original 156 defendants in the Treason Trial, but charges against her were later withdrawn. Matomela worked very closely with ANC heavyweights such as Raymond Mhlaba, Francis Baard and many others.
“Her role in mobilising communities into organised formations of discipline and community service inspired many to join the ranks of the ANC and labour movement in the Cape Province, particularly Port Elizabeth.
“She was later banned and restricted to Port Elizabeth in 1962 and subsequently given a five-year sentence for furthering the aims of the then banned ANC,” said the department of arts and culture provincial spokesperson Manzi Vabaza in a statement.
Matomela died under banning orders of the apartheid regime in 1969.