Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has conveyed his condolences to the family of Dr Tembeka Nkamba-Van Wyk who died recently following a short illness.
“We offer our condolences to her family, friends and the crafts community that looked up to her as an inspiration and visionary leader,” Department of Arts and Culture spokesman Sandile Memela said.
He said Dr Nkamba-Van Wyk was the founder of the world renowned cooperative, Ngezandla Zethu, that mobilized the crafts sector, especially rural African women, to use their talents to assert the dignity of African culture and creativity to encourage a spirit of self-determination.
Ngezandla Zethu is a creative and cultural cooperative enterprise that prioritized and highlighted the role of the crafts sector to job creation and economic development.
It has more than 6 000 women who were affiliated with it throughout the country.
“For this, she became a world renowned and multi-award winning business pioneer who, through her passion and commitment, transformed a simple yet profound grassroots intervention into an initiative that gave hope and meaning to lives of thousands of marginalized women,” Memela said.
At the time of her death, she headed the Tshwane Cultural amp Craft Design Hub that provided space for skills training and employment to youth in the region.
“The highlight of her achievement that transformed her life was when she founded and launched the Talking Beads Academy in 1997 to use crafts as an instrument to fight poverty and thus encourage African women to use their talents and skills to realize economic independence and self-determination,” he said.
In 1995, she was a Chief Director of Communications in the Presidency of late Nelson Mandela.
She was also a well-recognized children’s book writer, radio producer and script writer.
“Her special focus was to use both literature and broadcasting to enrich her young audience, especially African youth, to gain the confidence to express themselves about developments in their communities,” Memela said.
She was awarded the first Gauteng Arts and Culture Heritage Awards and Shoprite Best Woman of the Year Business Award.
She also received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Dr Nkamba-Van Wyk served on several aisory boards including the Independent Development Trust (IDT), Gauteng Arts and Crafts Council, Ntsika and the National Heritage Council Ubuntu Panel.
Source : SAnews.gov.za