The mother of the ex finance minister Trevor Manuel has passed away due to Coronavirus, just four days after she celebrated her 94th birthday.
Philma Manuel passed away on Thursday, according to a statement by the ANC’s coordinator in the Western Cape, Ronalda Nalumango.
“We grieve with the Manuel family and wish to express our condolences to comrade Trevor, his sisters, and Mrs Manuel’s 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren,” said Nalumango.
She said Mrs Manuel, a former garment worker, was widowed in 1969, when her future struggle activist son was 13.
“She brought up Trevor and his sisters Pamela, Beryl and Renecia as a single parent,” said Nalumango.
“Years ago, Mrs Manuel said in an interview about her life that her son’s political activism before 1994 was ‘very stressful to me. He was always either on the run from the security police or in prison. I would never in my wildest dreams thought that the years of misery would end up in him being elected as a cabinet minister in the government of national unity.’
Philma Manuel at her garden gate in Kensington, Cape Town, when she was 75 in 2002.
“This quote from Mrs Manuel highlights the life of activists fighting for change in SA, as well as the hard and cruel way in which the apartheid regime tried to stop them.
“We salute Mrs Manuel and mothers like her who gave their children to our struggle. But they did more than that t, they also joined and supported them. We will be forever grateful to all the Mrs Manuels of our country.”
In 2002, after her son had increased pensions by R50 a month in his budget, Mrs Manuel told the Sunday Times: “When Trevor grew up, there wasn’t much money to spend, but we managed. He only got a shilling pocket money. The best I could give them was their education.”
She said the future finance minister wasn’t much of a saver, preferring to spend his money as soon as he got it, but he always believed in the value of hard work. “He belonged to the scouts and used to work for a bob a job,” she said.