Zubeida “Juby” "Sharon Davis" Mayet was born December 27,in 1937 in Fietas, Johannesburg, Transvaal (now Gauteng). Mayet began writing in the mid-1950s while at high school. She studied for two years at a teachers’ training college, qualified and, following her passion for writing, immediately went to join a newspaper as a journalist.She began writing for the Golden City Post in 1957 and worked for Drum magazine. In 1977 she joined The Voice, in Lenasia, Johannesburg, where she was appointed Deputy Chief Sub-Editor — a first for black women journalists.

Mayet’s writing reflected her concern for gender equality and a strong commitment to the struggle against racism and apartheid. She was a founding member of the Union of Black Journalists (UBJ), serving as its assistant secretary-treasurer, and also a member of the Writer’s Association of South Africa.

On 30 November 1977, 29 black journalists, including Zwelakhe Sisulu and Mayet, staged a march in the centre of Johannesburg against the banning of the UBJ and the detention of journalists. They were detained for the night at the notorious John Vorster Police station and charged under the Riotous Assemblies Act and fined R50 each.

Mayet was detained for five months in 1979 and was held incommunicado under the Internal Security Act at the Fort Prison, in Johannesburg. Upon her release, the State served her with a five year banning order under the Internal Security Act. She and her family suffered continued police harassment and surveillance.  

Mayet held crucial roles with the Union of Black Journalists (UBJ) and went on to the Writers' Association of South Africa (WASA) that nurtured many black voices in literature. She contributed immensely to the Media Workers' Association of South Africa (MWASA) that fought for the rights of journalists.

Mayet was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achiever Award for Women in Writing in August 2000. In April 2006 she was one of the first twelve recipients of the 'Memory is Our Heritage' fellowship grants from the Mutloatse Art Heritage Trust. She is a founder member of Sizoya Sibuye Women's Forum, a group of women ex-prisoners of No. 4 Women's Jail (Old Fort). She is currently serving as the organisation's treasurer and research officer.In 2013 Umtapo Centre in Durban awarded Mayet the Steve Biko International Peace Award.Zubeida “Juby” Mayet passed away at her home in Lenasia, Johannesburg, Gauteng on 13 April 


Zwane, N. (2019). Feisty Struggle journo Mayet dies from Sunday World, 14 April 2019. Available at https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/sundayworld/news/2019-04-14-feisty-strugg… online. Accessed on 15 April 2019. • Hlongwane, A. (2013). An unsung heroine of South African journalism was honoured last night from Sunday Tribune, 22September 2013 in Pressreader. Available at https://www.pressreader.com/ online. Accessed on 15 April 2019. • Govender, S. (2015). Writing in a Time of Racism from The Journalist, 16 June 2015. Available at https://www.thejournalist.org.za/the-craft/writing-in-a-time-of-racism online. Accessed on 15 April 2019. • Madala, T. (2016). The life and times of Aunty from Lenz from Sunday Independent, 8 May 2016. Available at https://www.iol.co.za/sundayindependent/the-life-and-times-of-aunty-fro… online. Accessed on 15 April 2019. • Goolam, V. (2012). Muslim Portraits: The Anti-Apartheid Struggle – Juby Mayet – p216. Available at https://www.sahistory.org.za/sites/default/files/muslim_portraits_goola… online. Accessed on 15 April 2019.

Collections in the Archives