South African President Thabo Mbeki's mother Epainette Mbeki (R) arrives with Adelaide Tambo (L) for the inauguration ceremony of South African President Thabo Mbeki at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday 27 April 2004.
JOHANNESBURG - Former president Thabo Mbeki’s mother has died.
98-year-old Epainette Mbeki, fondly referred to as MaMbeki was admitted to hospital in the Eastern Cape this week, as she was struggling to breathe. She died at St Dominic&39;s Hospital in East London early on Saturday morning.
MaMbeki, who was a struggle icon in her own right, was married to ANC stalwart Govan Mbeki, who spent 24 years imprisoned alongside Nelson Mandela on Robben Island.
A qualified teacher, MaMbeki met her future husband Govan, when she began working at Taylor Street Secondary School in Durban, where he was a fellow teacher.
She lived a humble but active life in Ngcingwane, near Dutywa. She was active in the community and helped establish the Khanyisa beadwork project which provides employment to numerous rural women.
She was the recipient of many awards, including the Community Builder of the Year award and the King Cetshwayo African Image Award.
She was apparently suffering from a chest infection and heart problems at the time of her death.
The Mbeki family is expected to release a statement later today.