I was the youngest student of the first Chris Hani brigade in Limpopo between 2011 - 2013. The Chris Hani Brigade is a two year political school and training by COSATU in Limpopo with a very rich syllabus on political education which ranges from international to local politics, we were also taught Marxism and Lenninism, its a School for the battle of ideas. Part of the wide range of the syllabus was a class on the history of liberation movements in Africa and reflections on their failures and successes.
As our Commissar and Principal Cde Rudolph Phala lectured us on the South African liberation struggle, decade after decade, he spoke about the anti pass resistance Campaigns in the 1940 - 50s across the Country and mentioned that such resistance Campaigns in Cape Town were led by a radical woman called Dora Tamana.
He went on to explain how the radical Dora Tamana did not only lead the anti pass resistance Campaigns but also mobilised workers for them to be organised, she also mobilised the dispossesed African Majority in the area and established cooperatives to change the living conditions of her people, she was a Community builder who led the poor in fighting against minority rule, she is a founder member of FEDSAW and the first National Secretary of FEDSAW who travelled internationally to expose the evils of apartheid to the world, above all she was a Communist and an active member and leader of the Communist Party.
I fell in love immediately because before that, all women I had been taught about who participated in the liberation and women movements were not from the Communist Party, she was the first one in our interaction who was an SACP leader but also active in the ANC and the Women Movement. The women I had been taught about before her did not have a Communist background like her, from that day I made a vow to myself that I was going to find out more about this Dora Tamana. That`s where my love story with my heroine comes from.
The desire to find out more about her was not so deep at first. It was just myself a young woman who loves the SACP and has attended a lot of SACP events observing that the salutations in the meetings were mainly to fallen male stalwarts and Ruth First. A thought had crossed my mind about who are our other Party women heroes outside Ruth First who I was taught about many years back in my branch induction of the YCLSA. In the ANC meetings, the salutations were on women heroes without the mention of whether they were Communists or not, the likelihood is that they were not.