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  • Writer's pictureForgotton Voices

Eva Moorhead Kadalie

Eva Moorhead Kadalie ( 1908 – 1974) was Clements Kadalie’s wife and stood by his side for over three decades as they fought racism in South Africa.

She was educated, politically minded and active in the ICU union. When Kadalie felt out with ICU, Eva helped him form the Independent ICU and help restore his name. She was forced to flee to England following Clements’ death, where she had his autobiography published. History has forgotten Eva as is often the fate of women, especially of colour.

“From the very beginning women have played an important part in the long struggle for freedom, right from the days of slavery where Negro women helped their men folk to break their chains of bondage. I would like to mention that most of these women were not of the intellectual class, but ordinary slaves. I feel certain, that if I had space to do so, I would name hundreds of women doing similar work which we are doing in different parts of the world. The names of the those women are scarcely known outside of the communities in which they live and labour, but the value of their services they have rendered is greater than can ever be fully measured or known.

We had hard problems, it is true, but instead of despairing in the face of difficulties we should, as a race, thank God that we have a problem.” Eva Moorhead Kadalie.

Eva died in 1974. In 2010 her ashes were flown to South Africa and buried alongside her husband, Clements, who died in 1951. There was a guard of honour, dressed in ANC colours, for the ceremony. In 2021 Clements and Eva were remembered in a special ceremony by the ANC in South Africa. Her life is the subject of the play ,Forgotten Voices, which is written by her grandson, David Moorhead.


You looked after Mr Kadalie well during the difficult times. You pulled him from many things and you built a home for him, rebuilt his name and built the home for him, rebuilt his name and built the home of the Independent I.C, U. union. I learned to admire you more than many women.” A W G Champion key member of the ICU.

“Eva … a pretty , sharp and politically orientated woman who brought discipline into Clements’ life and put him back on the path to responsibility.” Cape Town Museum website

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