Farewell mother

Muhammad Sheihudeen Molte, Lavender Hill

A tribute to my Beloved Mother, Kulthum Minkey.

She was born in Simon’s Town on June 30 1942. Both her parents were buried in the Dido Valley cemetery and that was her last wish, to be buried in the same graveyard as them.

On August 23, the hearse proceeded from her council flat at number 1 Stuckeris Court Lavender Hill, to her last resting place.

She had four siblings, Zainab Presence (died 1995), Fatiemah Josephs (died 2014), Abdullah Kai Kai (died 1998) and Kallah (died 1978). My mother was the youngest sibling and she died at 9.30am on August 23 at the ripe age of 78 years.

Her primary and high school years were spent in Simon’s Town. She spent about three years at the Arsenal Road High School. In that year her mother passed away and she left school in standard 8 (Grade 10). She then worked at the tender age of 16 years old and spent her days swimming at Jaffers Beach (the current Cole Point entrance to the Dockyard).

During the latter part of her working life, before she retired, she worked for 20 years at the New World Foundation in Lavender Hill as a community worker.

Here she tackled some of the challenges facing the community, from applying for a social grant (SASSA), to applying for a house. She also accompanied families to court to either testify or render support in custody battles between former spouses, child abuse and rape cases.

This job also gave her the opportunity to sharpen her skills in community work, social upliftment and to travel. In the process they also concentrated on youth empowerment and development.

The New World Foundation, also had a feeding scheme, a creche, and a sewing room. A workshop in Vrygrond, an outreach programme for German students, invited guest speakers and a staff development programme. The German exchange students stayed for six months to a year. The major part of their sponsors and funding came from Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland and other parts of Europe. Her daily clients were housewives, young women and men, gangsters and her own family and friends. We used to have long discussions about various cases and situations at her work.

Only late in my life did I realise what impact those discussions had on my own working life and career. Today I’m in Human Resources Administration, having worked for the South African Navy, in Simon’s Town, for the past 28 years. I think my job and career chose me, with a lot of encouragement and motivation from my late beloved mother.

She was also part of the original group of people whom was responsible for establishing the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1984. People like Reverend Alan Boesak,Trevor Manual, Oscar Mpeta, Hettie Benjamin (died 2017), Mansoor Jaffer, Zubeida Jaffer and so many others. The UDF was also the frontrunner in the release of former president Nelson Mandela from a 27-year prison sentence. They promoted and advanced the, “Free Mandela Campaign”, in the late 1980s and the 1990s.

At one time she was on the run from the police and special branch who dealt with political activists.

Her involvement with politics took a priority in her life and in the process we hardly saw her around.

During her lifetime she has buried three husbands, Ahmad Molte (my dad), Jakoef Minkey and Magadien Akbar (who died in Pollsmoor Prison). She also gave birth to seven children, two died during infancy and the others grew up as adults and are still around. It’s myself,, Zainuniesa Ryklief, Ismail Molte, Abduragmaan Minkey and Fuad Minkey. She had 12 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.

That’s a blessed and full life.

Her close friends, Rita Jacobs and Hilda Frans, remember her as a truly, loyal community worker. Rita said she was very happy to have been at her bedside throughout sickness until her death.

She established the first advice office at New World Foundation. In turn she became the first Advice Office worker. Up until her death she was heading an NGO, a woman support group, to empower women from all ages. Many individuals were attracted to assist and help where they can. In 2018 she initiated the Women of Strength group to empower and support women in general.