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Dora Tamana

Dora Tamana was a woman of remarkable strength and dignity. She was born in 1901 in Hlobo, Transkei. Her childhood centred around the many tasks demanded of a young girl growing up in rural South Africa. When she was twenty, her father and two of her uncles were among the 163 people shot dead by police in the Bulhoek Massacre. She moved to Queenstown where she tried to eke out a living by collecting thatching grass in the surrounding, hills to sell in the location.

During this period three of her nine children died later she joined her husband in Cape Town. Experiences in the squatter community of Blouvlei aroused her political awareness. She became a member of the Communist Party of South Africa in 1942. She joined the ANC Women`s League and in 1954 became a member of the first national executive committee. She was banned under he Suppression of Communism Act and, to the end of her life, suffered constant police harassment.

One of her sons, Bothwell, was captured during the Wankie guerrilla campaigns of 1967 in a skirmish with South African and Rhodesian soldiers. Dora visited him in Khami jail. After 1976 she was told she had to use a Transkei passport. As a disciplined communist, she refused to accept this decision and therefore did not see him on his release alder Zimbabwe`s independence. She died of the age of 83, an example to all who knew her as a communist, a women`s leader and a tireless fighter for liberation.

Issued by:
SACP 65 Years in the Fronline Struggle