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Ms Constance Mirriam Thokozile Koza (Posthumous)

The Order of the Baobab in

Ms Constance Mirriam Thokozile Koza (Posthumous) Awarded for:
Her excellent contribution and consistent commitment to education and community development. Her selfless giving to society enriched and empowered many lives.
Ms Constance Mirriam Thokozile Koza, née Dlomo, was born in Benoni on 26 June 1926. Over a period of 40 years, she distinguished herself primarily in her work as an educator between 1951 and 1990, contributing from pre-primary to tertiary levels.

Armed with a Bachelor of Science degree (Majors: Zoology and Psychology) from the University of Fort Hare in 1950, she began her career teaching Biology, and sometimes IsiZulu, at Orlando High School in Soweto (1951-1955) during the early days of apartheid.

By 1990 she was the principal of St. Ansgar’s College in Lanseria, while in between she received international exposure in Southern Africa as the founding Head of the Faculty of Home Economics at the Swaziland Agricultural College and University Centre (1967-1971), which catered for students from Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana.

Her outstanding work and leadership led to her being awarded a scholarship to study for a Master of Science degree in Home Economics Education at the University of Wisconsin in the USA (1971-1973).

Koza distinguished herself as an outstanding community builder not only in the agricultural extension work she managed in rural Swaziland but also in the local and internationally funded ‘practical proclamation’ work she established as the head of Inter-Church Aid, a division of the South African Council of Churches from 1974 to 1979.

Among many other community development initiatives, she created job opportunities for rural women by setting up craft programmes. In 1978 she was nominated for The Star Woman of the Year Award, for her contribution and achievements in the areas of education and community development.

Koza was also a committed researcher and social scientist, publishing studies conducted on pertinent social issues relevant to race relations and human resources management while working at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research’s National Institute of Personnel Research since 1962.

Her tireless commitment to a democratic South Africa and the upliftment of women in particular was demonstrated when she and a few other women established the Women’s Rights Peace Party, which campaigned for voters in the first democratic elections in 1994. She believed that it was important that people stand up for women’s rights independently.