THE chairperson of the Kamandama Widows, Evangelista Siphiwe Ncube, has died. She was 64.
Ncube, who was popularly known as “Mai Six” in Hwange, died of thrombosis in Harare last Thursday and is expected to be buried at the Hwange Zesa cemetery tomorrow.
She was well known for championing the welfare of surviving wives of 427 miners who perished after an explosion in Wankie Colliery’s Kamandama Underground Shaft on June 6 1972. Her son Derek Sibanda confirmed the death of his mother who had been in and out of the hospital since June 2013.
“She passed away in Harare where she had gone for specialist treatment when everybody thought there was an improvement. We were expecting her in Hwange this week where she had ventured into business with fellow Kamandama widows,” said Sibanda.
Ncube is credited with working tirelessly to ensure surviving widows of the disaster were recognised by Hwange Colliery Company.
The company gives them an annual payout and also assists them in establishing income-generating projects.
Through Ncube’s efforts, the colliery company launched the annual Kamandama Memorial Golf Tournament that is played on June 5 every year.
The tournament draws amateur players from across the country with part of the proceeds going to the surviving widows and some channelled towards a scholarship for underprivileged children in Matabeleland North.
Hwange Colliery spokesperson Burzil Dube said Mai Six would be greatly missed by the colliery family for her sterling work towards promoting the welfare of surviving Kamandama widows.
“It was only three weeks ago when I paid a courtesy call on her and we were discussing the status of their business when she enquired about the donation of the coal burn stove which we had pledged for their local business venture,” he said.
“She said we could donate it to them when she came back from her routine (medical) check-up in Harare and we just laughed it off,” said Dube.
Ncube was born on April 4 1950 and was actively involved in the struggle for independence as a PF Zapu war collaborator. She is survived by five children and several grandchildren.