The African National Congress expresses its profound sadness at the passing of Comrade Marie-José Moumbaris on 3 September 2020, in Normandy, France.
The ANC lowers its revolutionary banner in salute to Comrade Marie-José Moumbaris, and we extend our deepest condolences to her husband and comrade, Alex Moumbaris, her children Chloë and Boris, her family, friends, and comrades in the struggle against apartheid and for international justice and solidarity.
She was a veteran of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), who was awarded the Sabotage Campaign Medal in 2012. She played a pivotal role in the struggle against aparthied. She worked tirelessly to support the building of the four pillars of our struggle: armed struggle, the underground, mass mobilisation, and international solidarity.
Comrade Marie-José, a French citizen, and her husband, Comrade Alex, were part of the group of internationalists known as the London Recruits: comrades of British and other nationalities, recruited in London for secret missions to South Africa. She was recruited into MK in 1972 and carried out operations with Comrade Alex helping to infiltrate MK cadres across the Swaziland and Botswana borders.
She was arrested and detained for four months. She was pregnant at the time. She demonstrated utmost bravery, resilience and resourcefulness and refused to reveal any information to the apartheid regime. She was freed and deported from South Africa due to diplomatic intervention by the French government.
Comrade Alex was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in June 1973. In 1979 he, Tim Jenkin and Stephen Lee escaped from Pretoria Local prison. On his return to France he organised the opening of the ANC office there.
He also assisted the struggle in various ways, including recruiting comrades for missions in South Africa for MK. He was awarded the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo in 2014.
Comrade Marie-José was a committed internationalist and anti-imperialist to the end.
We draw strength and inspiration from her example during these difficult times in which the Covid19 pandemic has exacerbated the global poly-crisis reflected in the rapacious conduct of finance capital, signs of stagnation in production and trade; degradation of the environment; and further marginalisation of regions in the periphery of global capitalism.
This spirit and practice of internationalism must guide us as we struggle to stem the rise narrow nationalism and chauvinism.
We will always remember her commitment, dedication, and sacrifice in defeating apartheid and the building of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
In honouring the name and the memory of Comrade Marie-José Moumbaris, we recall the words of President Oliver Tambo at the Conference of Peoples of the World United Against Apartheid in Arusha, Tanzania, on 4 December 1987:
“You have seen the esteem in which you are held because you are human beings, because you fight to live as human beings, because you are willing to sacrifice to oblige our enemy himself to live as a human being.”
Hamba Kahle uMkhonto!
Amandla! Maatla! Matimba! Maanda!