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Mama Rahima Moosa (Posthumous)

The Order of Luthuli in

Mama Rahima Moosa (Posthumous) Awarded for:
Her selfless contribution to the fight for freedom and gender equality in South Africa, and gallantly facing down the oppressive government of the time. She left behind a rich legacy as a champion of women’s rights.
Profile of Mama Rahima Moosa

Mama Rahima Moosa was born in Strand, Cape Town, on 14 October 1922. She attended Trafalgar High School in Cape Town. As a teenager, Moosa and her identical twin sister, Fatima, became politically active after they became aware of the unjust segregationist laws that ruled South Africa.

In 1943, Moosa became the shop steward for the Cape Town Food and Canning Workers’ Union. She later became the branch secretary of the union and more active in labour politics. In 1951 she married Dr Hassen ‘Ike’ Mohamed Moosa, a fellow comrade and Treason Trialist. She moved to Johannesburg with her husband and together they had four children.

In Johannesburg, she became involved with the Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC) and thereafter the African National Congress (ANC), as the TIC and the ANC had signed a pact for a common Struggle. In 1955, Moosa played a significant role in the organisation of the Congress of the People, where the Freedom Charter was adopted. In 1956, while pregnant with her daughter, Natasha, she helped organise the Women’s March, under the auspices of the Federation of South African Women.

Together with Mama Helen Joseph, Mama Lillian Ngoyi and Mama Sophia Williams, Moosa spearheaded the historic march to the Union Buildings where women handed over petitions against pass laws.

She and her twin sister Fatima always managed to confuse the security branch officers as they could easily switch identities, in times of harassment. In the early 1960s, Moosa was listed, a status that she remained in until 1990 with the unbanning of the ANC.