|Died||26 November 2018 (aged 75)|
(m. 1959; died 1992)
Ernestine Bonita Mabo (formerly Neehow) AO (c. 1943 – 26 November 2018), was an Australian educator and activist for Aboriginal Australians, Torres Strait Islanders, and Australian South Sea Islanders. She was the widow of Eddie Mabo.
Bonita Mabo was born in Halifax, Queensland, one of 10 children. She was an Australian South Sea Islander of Ni-Vanuatu descent whose ancestors were "blackbirded" to work in the sugar cane industry in Queensland. Her grandfather was "blackbirded" from Tanna in what is now Vanuatu.
In 1973, Eddie and Bonita Mabo established the Black Community School in Townsville, where children could learn their own culture rather than white culture. Bonita worked in the school as a teacher's aide and oversaw day-to-day operations.
On 31 May 2018, a star was named in her honour at the Sydney Observatory, during the visit of the N.S.W. Judicial Commission's Ngara Yura Program to the Observatory. Her daughter Ms Gail Mabo was present, since Bonita was ill. Another star, Koiki, had been named in memory of Eddie Koiki Mabo in 2015 on the 23rd anniversary of the Mabo decision.
On 17 November 2018, James Cook University conferred upon Bonita Mabo an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in recognition of her outstanding contribution to social justice and human rights at a private ceremony held in Brisbane.
Bonita Mabo died in Brisbane on 26 November 2018, aged 75.
"Aunty Bonita's contribution to social justice and human rights for First Nations People and the Australian South Sea Islander recognition was monumental and relentless."
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- "Black Community School". Screen Australia Digital Learning. Archived from the original on 10 April 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
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- "Bonita Mabo honoured by Mailman at Logies award". National Indigenous Times. 2012. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
- "MABO, Ernestine Bonita - Officer of the Order of Australia - 26 January 2013". It's an Honour. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Australia). Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
- "Bonita Mabo awarded AO". ABC News (Australia). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 26 January 2013. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
- Higgins, Isabella (26 November 2018). "Bonita Mabo, prominent Indigenous rights activist, dies days after receiving accolade". ABC News. Archived from the original on 26 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
- "Bonita Mabo dies days after human rights accolade". ABC News. 26 November 2018. Archived from the original on 26 November 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
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