red location museum

a world class museum bridging the past towards the future

florence matomela


Florence was born in 1910 and worked as a teacher while raising five children. In 1950, angered by new influx control regulations in Port Elizabeth, she led a demonstration that ended in the burning of permits. In the 1952 Defiance Campaign she was one of the first women volunteers and spent six weeks in prison for civil disobedience. She was later tried with the Cape leaders of the Campaign and given a nine month suspended sentence.

In the mid-1950s Florence was the Cape provincial organiser of the ANC Womenâ??s League and vice-president of the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW). She was among the original 156 defendants in the Treason Trial, but charges against her were withdrawn in December 1957. She was banned and restricted to Port Elizabeth in 1962 and she was subsequently given a five-year sentence for furthering the aims of the banned ANC. While she was in prison, her health deteriorated badly, as she was sometimes deprived of much needed medical attention, such as the insulin injections. In 1965, her husband died, the prison authorities kept this information from her until her release in 1968. After her release, Florence was banned again, and she died in 1969, while under those banning orders.

Florence Matomela (SA History)
IMBOKODO Women's Struggle (SA History)
SACP Remembers Florence Matomela