Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe

Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe served as South African High Commissioner to Mozambique from 2002 to 2009. As one of the first black women ambassadors and career diplomats in South Africa, she has led and represented the foreign and diplomatic strategy and relations of South Africa in Tanzania, Botswana and Mozambique.

Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe devoted 33 years of her life to the liberation struggle. She has drawn extensively on her personal experience in the remarkable body of work she has produced over the past 25 of those 33 years. She wrote an article on Child Labour in Africa, which was published by UNESCO in 1987. Her next work, ‘ANC History Booklet 1912-1991’ was published in Oslo, Norway in December 1991. Her literary career and African pioneership continues unabated. Her poignant and highly inspirational autobiography ‘A Dream Fulfilled – Memoirs of an African Diplomat’ was first published in South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Botswana in July 2006.


A joyful laugh is heard. No doubt it comes from Mama Thandi, as Ambassador Thandi Lujabe- Rankoe was affectionately called in Mozambique, during her 7-year tenure of office in this country. This sonorous laugh is a hallmark of Mama Thandi. This is a contagious laugh that instantly transmits sympathy and empathy with others.

Although small in volume, I do see Thandi’s book as a valuable contribution in recording some milestones in the long-standing relations between Mozambique and South Africa as well as in the professional education of young diplomats. I wish her well.

Maputo, July 2012

Leonardo S. Simão,
Former MInister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

A tribute to mama thandi

Every time I think about Ambassador Thandi, two words come to my mind: sociability and friendship. You hear that sonorous laugh, which is contagious, and you know it is just Thandi. This charming lady is always surrounded by friends, from where she is at the moment, but also from all parts of the world. Some of these people have been her friends for many years, but they keep about her the same feelings of warm affection and loyalty. On special occasions, they are ready to travel long distances to meet her and share those moments.

As a tribute to her role in all of this, many called her Mama Thandi. My wife Josephine and I feel greatly honoured to have this most gifted lady among our best friends.

We wish her well.

Leonardo S. Simão,
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe