Stella Sigcau

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Princess Stella Sigcau (4 January 1937 or 14 January 1937 – 7 May 2006) is best known as a Minister in the South African Government. Sigcau was also the first female Prime Minister of the Transkei before being deposed in a military coup[1] in 1987.

Early life and career[edit]

She was the daughter of King Botha Sigcau of the AmaMpondo tribe who was a former President of the Transkei in 1976-1978. Her brothers are King Thandizulu Sigcau and the late ANC activist and Member of Parliament Nkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau. She named Nkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau's daughter HRH Princess Stella Sigcau II (Founder: Lwandlolubomvu Rural Development Project; Founder and Festival Director: Ntsikayezwe Lamampondo Cultural and Heritage Festival) after her. Sigcau graduated from the Loveday Institute in 1954 before marrying Ronald Tshabalala in 1962. She taught in a number of schools in Natal during the 1960s.

Transkei politics[edit]

In 1968, she was elected in Transkei representing the seat of Lusikisiki. Prior to the granting of independence, she held a number of portfolios. After independence, she held the portfolios of Interior Affairs and Posts and Telecommunications. She became the leader of the Transkei National Independence Party on 5 October 1987 and became the third Prime Minister of Transkei two days later. Her term as Prime Minister did not last long as she was overthrown in a coup by General Bantu Holomisa.[1]

South African politics[edit]

Transkei was absorbed back into South Africa after 27 April 1994. Sigcau stood for election as a candidate on the African National Congress party list and was successful. President Nelson Mandela appointed her as Minister for Public Enterprises in 1994 and she served in that role, which involved attempts at transforming the face of South African Airways and South African Railways until 1999. She then became Minister of Public Works and served in that capacity until her death in 2006 of heart failure.


  1. ^ a b "Stella Sigcau dead at 69". Mail&Guardian. 8 May 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-14.