The Global Interfaith Network is deeply saddened by the passing of our Board member, the Rev. Phumzile Mabizela. Phumzile was a wonderful human being who made her mark in multiple contexts and was beloved by very many people around the world.
Executive Director, Toni Kruger Ayebazibwe, says, “I am so sad that Phumzile is gone. She was a blessing and a rebel, courageous, powerful, and an ongoing source of comfort and strength to me and to so many others. May she rest in peace and rise in power.”
Phumzile had been a member of our Board since 2016, and contributed her joy, her insight and her power in the founding of GIN. She was the Executive Director of the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS (INERELA+) INERELA+, as well as contributing to multiple other organisations including the Faith Advisory Council to UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion, the World Council of Churches International Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy International Reference Group, the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance HIV Campaign Strategy Group, SANAC Legal and Human Rights Task Team, the Ujamaa Centre for Community Research, Inclusive and Affirming Ministries and the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians.
Ishmael Bahati, Board Co-Chair and representative for Sub-Saharan Africa expressed his sorrow, “At the Global Interfaith Network we grieve for the death of this phenomenal woman. A warrior and mentor. The courage and wisdom I have gained since I started working with her at the Global Interfaith Network is unmatched. I will always remember you, my comrade. Shine all the way, Mama Phumzile Mabizela!”
Our deepest condolences to her children, her mother, everyone at INERELA+ and all the many, many people whose lives she touched, across the world.
In honour of Phumzile, and since she lost her life to COVID, partly because she had not yet been able to access a vaccine, we would like to invite anyone who would like to do so to make a donation in her name to the GoGiveOne Vaccine equality campaign: https://gogiveone.org. The money raised goes to the Gavi COVAX AMC, which funds COVID-19 vaccines for lower-income countries, helping protect those who need vaccines the most.