GLOBAL – SOUTH AFRICA: Activist, researcher and educator Tembi Qondela passed away on 2 June 2020 of Covid-19 related complications. At the time of his death, he was the co-coordinator for the International Honours Program (IHP) at the School for International Training (SIT), as well as the founder of the award-winning community-based organization called Whizz ICT Community Resource Centre in Khayelitsha. Tembi started his early career on the mines in South Africa, where he came to understand the importance of defending workers’ rights and the importance of health and safety at work. These were to be themes that constantly underscored his work as an activist, researcher and educator.
Amongst his many roles was that of part-time assistant librarian at the Trade Union Library and Education Centre, which later merged with IFWEA affiliate the Labour Research Service (LRS) in Community House in Cape Town. He was also adult educator and coordinator at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Adult Education Scheme, and researcher with the Industrial Health Research Group and Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research at UCT. His research on the impacts of pesticides in low-income communities earned him the World Health Organization Community Research Award for a best participatory research project. Tembi earned a postgraduate diploma and advanced certificate in adult education and development from the University of Cape Town.
Described as having a “massive smile and boundless energy,” Tembi was also praised as “a fiercely independent thinker willing to challenge injustice but who cared hugely for others.”