Back to top

Ms Miltha Mary “Mamou” Calata (Posthumous)

The Order of Luthuli in

Ms Miltha Mary “Mamou” Calata (Posthumous) Awarded for:
Her excellent contribution to the fight against apartheid and to poverty alleviation. She went beyond her call of duty to help alleviate the burden of poverty from the poor by encouraging self-reliance.
Ms Miltha Mary “Mamou” Calata came from the rural area of Qoboqobo (Keiskammahoek) in the Eastern Cape. A teacher by profession and wife of the late Rev Canon James Arthur Calata, she defied stereotypes that girls should not be educated as their future is in marriage.

It came natural to her to continue this fight as she herself had three daughters and was so determined to get them educated. Her community work in Cradock was remarkable. She encouraged people to have gardens in their homes, vegetables at the back and flowers in front of the house.

Not only could people feed their families from these gardens but they could also sell their produce to markets.

Calata challenged the local municipality to run garden competitions to motivate residents.Winners would get publicity, seeds and help for their gardens; some people even went around doing other people’s gardens to make money.
Although they were Anglicans, she encouraged interdenominational participation by calling meetings for all womens’ unions from different churches to discuss issues facing the community. Most people in the townships loved her for this.

Her politics came from supporting her husband but she was also active in politics. Calata led protesters in defying the curfew regulations by holding a prayer meeting on a street corner in Cradock. For this she was arrested and detained indefinitely.