Minister Nathi Mthethwa pays tribute to Maya Angelou

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29 May 2014

It is with deep sadness that we have learnt of the passing away of the acclaimed author and poet, Maya Angelou yesterday. She was 86 years old.

Despite having a difficult early life, Maya Angelou rose to become a renowned civil rights activist, author and poet. She contributed greatly to the struggle against apartheid. She was married to a South African political activist from 1960 to 1963.

She received many awards during her lifetime. Notable among her writings is her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which in 1969, made history as one of the first nonfiction best-sellers by an African-American woman. She went on to write seven autobiographical books. 

Her books project the indomitable spirit of a woman who succeeded, against all odds.

She maintained her link to South Africa through writing poems when freedom and democracy were attained in 1994. She consoled us and the world when Madiba passed away by dedicating a poem to him entitled, “His Day is Done”.

Today we remember this great woman who inspired generations with her words. Her humanism transcended boundaries. Her resilience gave all of us strength. Her voice lives on here in South Africa, in the African Diaspora and the rest of the world.

She will be deeply missed, but she will live on through her writings. 

Our deepest condolences to her son, Guy Johnson, her family and close friends.

Please contact Lisa Combrinck for further enquiries on 0828214886