Reprinted book celebrates legacy of a struggle heroine

The life and legacy of local struggle heroine Jabu Ndlovu was celebrated at the launch of a book about her life titled Flashes in Her Soul at the Manaye Hall in Imbali on Tuesday afternoon.

The book was written by Jean Fairbairn and was originally published in 1991. Yesterday, the Mzala Nxumalo Centre hosted the launch of the reprinted version of the book, which features a new introduction by Debby Bonnin and falls under the Hidden Voices project.

Jabu Ndlovu, a shop steward of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and a community leader, was attacked with a fire-bomb on Saturday, May 21, 1989 at her home in Imbali. Her husband and her eldest daughter were shot dead and their house set alight. She was also shot and died later of her burns.

The project manager of the Hidden Voices programme, Karin Pampallis, said Ndlovu’s story represents the experiences of thousands of women who struggled and suffered as a result of the war in KwaZulu-Natal in the 1980s and 1990s, which many women today can still relate to.

Edward Webster, the Hidden Voices programme director, said the project seeks to publish key texts, books, documents and other materials that were never published under apartheid or seminal books that have gone out of print. “We hope that these recovered, lost or forgotten voices will help reinvigorate the humanities and social sciences and contribute to the decolonisation of knowledge production in South Africa and indeed throughout Africa,” said Webster.

Ndlovu’s daughter, Luhle Ndlovu- Mbanjwa, said the family were happy with the republishing of the book about her mother’s life because it meant “keeping her spirit and legacy alive”.

“We welcome the idea of reprinting the book because it means her legacy lives on for both the family and the public because my mother was not ours but belonged to the people because of the work she was doing,” said Ndlovu- Mbanjwa.