President Jacob Zuma and the South Africa Communist Party (SACP) have sent their condolences to Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande after his mother died on Sunday.
Nosipho Nzimande, who was affectionately called Mama Nzimande, turned 90 in May.
Zuma has praised her for giving refuge to activists during the violence that engulfed the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal in the 1980s and 1990s.
"She warmly received SACP and ANC [African National Congress] activists in her home during the difficult period of the violence that engulfed Pietermaritzburg and surroundings during the late 1980s and early 1990s," Zuma said in a statement released by the Presidency.
"We extend our deepest condolences to Minister Nzimande and family on the passing on of this much-loved matriarch. May they find strength to cope with the difficulty that this end of an era brings to the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with family at this difficult time," said Zuma.
The SACP described her as an activist in her own right.
"In honour of Mrs Nozipho Nzimande and other fallen women stalwarts of our struggle, we need to forge the broadest possible patriotic front to defend and deepen our democracy and build a vibrant, progressive women's movement," spokesperson Alex Mashilo said.