Mott Foundation mourns the passing of Nomboniso Nangu

Nomboniso Nangu Maqubela headshot.
Nomboniso Nangu. Photo: National Alliance for the Development of Community Advice Offices

The Mott Foundation mourns the sudden death of Nomboniso Nangu, director of the National Alliance for the Development of Community Advice Offices in South Africa. She passed away on Saturday, April 8, after a brief illness.

Nomboniso was a feisty activist who championed the recognition of community advice offices as part of the wider justice system in South Africa. She was loved and respected by those who worked with her. She had boundless energy, and no task was too large or too small for her. She worked tirelessly to help revive many advice offices that had closed due to lack of funds.

She used soft power to achieve the impossible, and her humility made it easy for everyone to work with her. She had an uncanny ability to spot talent. She recruited and worked with many youngsters whom she trained and — as she would say — toughened up for the real world.

At the time of her death, Nomboniso was working to ensure the legal recognition of paralegals in South Africa. She also worked as part of a global team for the inclusion of Goal 16 to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. She was a founding member of an envisaged African Centre of Excellence for Access to Justice. She worked in this initiative with colleagues from Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi and Sierra Leone, who fondly referred to her as the “vision carrier” for the centre. Nomboniso leaves behind three children, who were the center of her world, as well as her mother and other close relatives.

Nomboniso will be dearly missed. We send heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and colleagues. While her big shoes will be difficult to fill, it is the responsibility of those left behind to make her vision of access to justice for all a reality. May she rest in peace.