31 July 2016
Durban South Africa
Obituary - Zodwa Khumalo

Ma Dlamini (Zodwa Khumalo)

Zodwa Khumalo, who was fondly referred to as “MaDlamini”, was a respected traditional healer and informal economy activist.  She started vending in the inner city of Durban, South African in the early 1980s, when apartheid authorities often violently removed vendors. She emerged as a powerful leader not only of traditional medicine traders, but informal workers in general. Her trading area, the Warwick Junction, was the site of innovation in inclusive planning for street vendors.


Ma Dlamini (Zodwa Khumalo)

In her capacity as president of the Self Employed Women’s Union, she played a key role in negotiations to secure appropriately designed and managed spaces for street vendors in the very heart of the city. She was also at the forefront of professionalizing the traditional medicine trade. Her tireless commitment has been an inspiration to many, showing that inclusive planning for the informal economy is possible.


She died in July 2016 due to complications stemming from a collision with a taxi, near her trading site. She leaves behind four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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