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Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe

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Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe devoted more than 33 years of her life to the liberation struggle

Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe served as South African High Commissioner to Mozambique from 2002 to 2009. As one of the fi rst 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. In many respects Thandi is a true pioneer, having started the fi rst South African High Commission in Tanzania in 1995, and being one of the fi rst women to document her experience of being exiled from South Africa.

Thandi is widely acknowledged for her strong negotiating, lobbying, administrative and coordination skills. Throughout her career she excelled at forming relations with leaders within governmental, business and non-governmental sectors in order to achieve transformation. In her capacity as Ambassador to Mozambique, she worked with a number of key African institutions, namely SADC and the AU, amongst others, as well as with leading international organisations such as the EU and some UN organisations.

Among her many accomplishments, Thandi facilitated Trade and Industry relations at governmental level, as well as facilitating South African businesses operating in Tanzania, Mozambique and Botswana, such as Murray & Roberts, Sasol, and Standard Bank. Thandi also spearheaded the coordination of various reconciliatory activities, social investment and women’s initiatives.

There is no doubt that Thandi’s vast experience contributed to her success as a seasoned diplomat, having represented the ANC in various roles in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, and she was ANC Chief Representative in Norway from 1988-1994. She coordinated various projects within the ANC structures, especially within the ANC Women’s League, where she was Chairperson of the ANC Women’s Section in Botswana and Zimbabwe. She also served as an independent observer during the Mozambican elections.

Thandi’s international organisational experience began with the United Nations Development Programme, where she was programme coordinator for scholarships for ANC and SWAPO students. Thereafter she coordinated various projects working for NORAD in Botswana and the Norwegian People’s AID in Zimbabwe.

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 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 poignant and highly inspirational autobiography “A Dream Fulfilled - Memoirs of an African Diplomat” was first published in South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Lesotho and Botswana in July 2006. The manuscript of her most recent book, “Two Nations, One Vision” in which she recounts her experiences during her years as High Commissioner to Mozambique, is currently being finalised for publication.

Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe