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Equal Education mourns the passing of our formidable co-founder Yoliswa Dwane

21 October 2022

Equal Education mourns the passing of our formidable co-founder Yoliswa Dwane

Today is deeply sad for Equal Education’s staff and members, past and present, as we mourn the passing of our co-founder Yoliswa Dwane. Yoliswa, who was affectionately known as Sis Yoli, passed away this morning having been ill. 

Sis Yoli grew up eDimbaza  in the Eastern Cape, and later moved to Khayelitsha in the Western Cape. She completed a degree in Media, Film and Visual Studies, and then a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at the University of Cape Town. She founded EE in 2008, alongside Joey Hasson, Doron Isaacs and Lumkile Zani. 

She was elected as our movement’s Chairperson at our first democratic congress in  2012, as she led EE’s research, media engagement, law reform work and publications. She led EE as our Chairperson for two terms. She was key to the formation of the EE Law Centre, and served on its first board. MamTshawe dedicated over a decade of her life to EE, rooting our our struggle in the circumstances of rural and township schools.

Sis Yoli was formidable. A strong and graceful nkokheli. She believed absolutely that parliamentary engagements, media advocacy, policy outputs and legal interventions are given their power – and much legitimacy – by our grassroots organising across the country everyday. She cared deeply for the lives of every single one of our members and consistently challenged the young people working inside EE to foreground Equalisers in all of our work. 

Sis Yoli’s contribution to the struggle for equity and justice in post-apartheid South Africa is undeniable. We are very grateful to her for it. We wish we had celebrated your life more Sis Yoli, while you were still with us. 

Our hearts are with Sis Yoli’s mother and brother, amaTshawe and with everyone to whom she was a friend, an older sister, and mentor. 

Sis Yoli, uMamTshawe’s funeral service will be communicated soon, however all enquiries should be directed to the family spokesperson Mbulelo Dwane on 076 990 7978 at all times.

Sikukhapha ngentonga ethi: 

Hay’ inyweba abanayo, Abangcwele baphezulu

(How fortunate are they, the holy ones from above)

Ukuphumla bakuphiwe, bayohlala bonwabile

(They have been granted peace, they will rejoice forever)

Inyembezi zosuliwe, Zonk’intlungu ziphelile

(Their tears have been wiped away, no more pain for them)

Ndimanami ngema nabo, Abobantu abangcwele,

(May I also stand among them, the holy ones)

Sohlala Sikukhumbula Sis’Yoli. Uyophila ngonaphakade ngenxa yemisebenzi yakho. 

Ulale ngoxolo qabane lethu.

Leanne Jansen-ThomasEqual Education mourns the passing of our formidable co-founder Yoliswa Dwane