While the conference was underway we all received the sad news that one of our colleagues and friend, Nomcebo (MaMbili) Mvelase, from groundwork-FoE South Africa had sadly passed away on Friday, the 8th of October after a fatal stabbing in the Pietermaritzburg city centre. The video above documents all the participants of the Ecological Equity Conference coming together to mourn her passing and pay tribute to this inspiring woman, mother and activist. The poem is written and spoken by Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of FoE International.

“A senseless act of violence took away from us a fearless, feisty young woman whose star was shining very brightly.  She was at a wonderful stage in her career and life, and was planning to move into her newly built home within the next few weeks.

At GroundWork, we were fortunate to share the last three and a half years of her life.   We shared in her joy as she wed soon after joining us.  Nomcebo was strong and stood her ground in an organisation where people are tough and determined. We all laughed and cried together. Nomcebo headed our environmental health campaign and worked with government’s impoverished state hospitals, training health care workers on improving health care waste management.  She also worked with small farmers and agricultural outreach officers to facilitate a move away from synthetic pesticides.

She represented groundWork not only locally in rural hospitals but also globally in health and environmental forums in Switzerland, India and Belgium.  She was growing to be a person for all seasons.

We cry for her five year old son who was with her, her husband, family and for our beloved country.”

– groundWork-FoE South Africa