The women behind the man
Dr Mathews Phosa, anti-apartheid activist, politician, poet and leading businessman, needs no introduction. Perhaps lesser known, is the female quartet driving force behind this man who has had an instrumental role in reshaping the course of South Africa’s history
As families go, this one has talent, nous and variety by the bucket load. And meeting his leading ladies, wife Pinky and daughters, Moya, and Tshepiso, at their beautiful and pristine home outside White River cements this. I’m immediately at ease as our conversation kicks off with rapid fire chat and stories to tell. Together, and individually, they’re warm, open and candid. And from the get go their strong moral compass and sense of responsibility to humanity is clear. The other side of this collective of beauties is fierce independence, commitment to business and their careers. And a wholesome groundedness about the world and its people.
Pinky, the (obvious) matriarch, family anchor and peacekeeper is a palpable inspiration to her daughters. “She is an other-worldly woman… she has a different texture,” says Moya, the eldest daughter, describing her mother. Enigmatic, regal and with a super sense of humour, Pinky shares how she and Mathews met as teenagers in high school. I’m left thinking romance still thrives for them when she talks about his love of writing. And the letters she received from him during the courtship of this Mpumalanga born and bred couple.
“During his time of activism he had a hard side, but his inevitable gentle fabric and humility has never wavered. He has always been romantic,” reminisces Pinky. “As a child I was a total dreamer with strong Christian values. After 41 years of marriage his personality made me stronger and I have softened him. For him to be what he is… I’ve had to be his wife… to fly his flag.”