Nana Henrietta Moabi (nee Radadi) was born in Lichtenburg, Western Transvaal (now North West Province) on 18 September 1938. She completed her lower primary education at Pax-Engwe, a Roman Catholic school near Pietersburg, Northern Transvaal (now known as Polokwane in Limpopo) and the St Mountford Convent in Louis Trichardt, as well as the Kilnerton Training College.
She joined the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in 1959, when it broke away from the African National Congress (ANC). Moabi participated in the 1960 Anti-Pass Campaign, and witnessed the Sharpeville massacre. Between 1960 and 1963, she served as Health Secretary for the PAC’s underground structures in Soweto.
She also became actively involved in the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) particularly between 1968 and 1976, mobilising young people into the BCM especially in Soweto.
She was actively involved in community programmes and is listed by the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa in the United Nations (UN) directory of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for her work in the Mofolo Integrated Community Development Programme.
In 1968, she was recruited into the Poqo, and later the Azania People’s Liberation Army (APLA) underground as an intelligence officer, gathering information about enemy movements and relaying it to the APLA officers in exile. She served in this capacity until the unbanning of the PAC in 1990.
Moabi’s ideological scope did not stop with the PAC and BCM, both of which were steeped in the nationalist struggles against colonialism; she was equally concerned with the lot of workers, subjected to the harsh labour conditions under the apartheid system. She became an active member of the trade union movement. In 1987, she was elected President of the Black Domestic Workers’ Association (BLADWA).
In 1995, shortly after the first democratic elections in South Africa, she formed part of the South African women’s delegation to the Beijing Conference.
Nana Henrietta Moabi has, throughout her adult and active life, fought for the achievement of equality and freedom in South Africa. She is among the few women who defied the gender impediments of the time to assert the right for the people of South Africa to be free from racism and sexism, believing in the values of human dignity irrespective of origin, colour or gender.
In 2008, the South African Government conferred the Order of the Baobab in Gold to Nana Henrietta Moabi for her contribution to the fight against racialism in South Africa.