Rita Ndzanga Biography: Age, Cause of Death, Husband, Parents, Detention, Activism

Rita Ndzanga profiles
Veteran activist, Rita Ndzanga dies at 89.


Rita Alice Ndzanga (born October 17, 1933) was a prominent South African trade unionist and anti-apartheid activist. As a renowned politician, Rita served in the first, second, and third democratic Parliament.

Ndzanga served as an organizer for the African Railways and Harbour Union. She was a founding member of the South African Congress of Trade Unions in the 1950s.

Rita Ndzanga
Rita Ndzanga biography
Profile of Rita Alice Ndzanga.
Quick Facks
Full Name:Rita Alice Ndzanga
Born:October 17, 1933
Place of Birth:Mogopa
Death:August 17, 2022 (age 88 years old)
Education:Madibane High
Parents:Isaac More, Alina More
Husband:Lawrence Ndzanga
Occupation:Trade unionist, anti-apartheid activist
Cause of Death:Unknown

Early Life

Rita Ndzanga was born on October 17, 1933, in Mogopa near Ventersdorp, North West Province, then western Transvaal. Her father, Isaac More, worked in Johannesburg.

When she was seven, she moved to Mogopa with her mother, Alina More, and her siblings to study. After graduating from standard six, grade eight, her family returned to Sophiatown. 

At Sof’town, she registered at Madibane High in Western Native Township. Her education ended in Form Three, Standard Eight since her family couldn’t sponsor their education any further.


In 1955, Alice started working as a secretary in the Railway Workers Union. She collected members’ fees, and her late husband handled recruiting members into the union.

His role also made him travel around South Africa to organize workers.

The couple belonged to an underground cell of four people. In 1964, she and her husband were banned, and on Mondays, Alice had to report to the Police Station in Moraka.

Later, Alice became the secretary of the South African Congress of Trade Unions.

On August 9, 1956, she participated in the Women’s March, a protest led by black women in Pretoria, South Africa.

In 1964, Rita got banned from working with trade unions. She was active and considered an active patron at the Federation of Transvaal Women in 1984.

In 1999, Ndzanga became a member of Parliament. A movie about her life titled Rita Ndzanga – South African came out in 1984. She received the Order of Luthuli from South Africa on June 18, 2004.


In May 1969, Ndzanga and her husband Lawrence were detained under section 6 of the Terrorism Act. She stayed in prison for half a year without changing into other clothing. She put on the dress she wore during her arrest.

Alice was in detention with Martha Dlamini, Winnie Mandela, Thoka Mngoma, and Joyce Sikhakane.

Advocate George Bizos defended them in court, and they were acquitted. However, they were re-arrested.

After Ndzanga, her husband, and many others were arrested, they were in police custody for seventeen months. They were denied visitors and change of clothes.

In 1970, she was free from detention but banned for half a decade more. In January 1977, her husband died after suffering a heart attack.

Her husband’s death and the torture she underwent did not diminish her participation in the trade union movement. She was free after a day after her husband’s funeral.

In 1980, Ndzanga returned to serve as the organizer for the General and Allied Worker’s Union. She became the Chairperson and Treasurer of the Senaoane branch of the ANC Women’s League, after unbanning ANC.

Personal Life

Rita Alice Ndzanga got married to Lawrence Ndzanga in 1956. The couple lived in Eastern Native Township at George Goch. Later, they relocated to Soweto, a township of Johannesburg in Gauteng.


The anti-apartheid activist Rita Alice Ndzanga died on August 17, 2022. She was 88 years old.

North West Premier, Kaobitsa Bushy Maape, mourned the demise of the activist Rita Alice Ndzanga. Maape on behalf of the North West Provincial Government expressed sadness at her demise.