Florence Mophosho was born in 1921 Alexander Township, Johannesburg. She was the first of the three children. Florence's mother was a qualified teacher, but worked as a domestic worker. Household conditions forced Florence to drop out of the school during Std 6 and look for a job to assist her mother to raise her siblings. She first worked as a domestic worker and later in a factory. Mophosho drew inspiration from the 1952 Defiance Campaign and joined the African National Congress (ANC). She came into contact with the ANC leaders in Alexander such as Alfred Nzo and T.T. Nkobi. And as her involvement in the ANC activities grew she met other leaders in other parts of the country such as Moses Kotane, Moretsele, J.B. Marks, O.R. Tambo and Nelson Mandela. Florence was instrumental in organising the Congress of the People, which adopted the Freedom Charter in 1955. Later she became full time organiser for the ANC and participated in many of the campaigns of that time. She was actively involved in the women's movement and women issues. Mophosho mobilised women in Alexander for the Transvaal demonstrations against the passes for African women. She also participated and mobilised women to participate in the nation wide anti-pass women's march on 9 August 1956. She mobilised domestic workers in the urban areas and later in the rural areas, including Lichtenburg.

In 1957 Florence served in the Alexander Bus Boycott Committee. In 1960 when the government announced the state of emergency Florence went underground and continued to further ANC activities and objectives. She was detained on numerous occasions and subsequently banned in 1964. After she was banned Florence went into exile to Lusaka and later to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. While she was in exile the ANC and its Women's section decided to send her to Berlin in the German Democratic Republic to represent the organisation at the Women's International Democratic Federation. While she was in Germany she delivered speeches at numerous public meetings. She also conducted radio and TV interviews. She also assisted in consolidating the relations between the GDR, especially the women's organisation and the ANC. She served in that post for a period of four and half a years.

In 1969, she was a delegate to the ANC's Morogoro Conference. She headed the Women's section to this conference. Her loyalty, commitment, sacrifice and fiery spirit to the ANC were compensated with her election to the NEC of the ANC in 1975. Her election to the NEC provided her with an opportunity to upgrade the women cadres in the ANC. She marvelously integrated the struggle for the women rights with the national liberation struggle. As a result of her unwavering commitment to the liberation struggle, she was re-elected to the NEC by the ANC conference in June 1985. Less than two months later she died in Lusaka on Women's Day, 9 August 1985. Her death was a great loss to the ANC and liberation struggle in the country.

At the funeral hundreds of mourners converged and numerous messages of condolence from all over the world were read. And the ANC leaders, President O.R. Tambo, T.T. Nkobi, S. Dlamini, D. Tloome, Chris HaniRay Simons - paid tribute to this Iqhawe lama Qhawe – “the hero of heroes”.



Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, 2000  Women Marching into the 21 st century pp.35-36

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