Julia Nompi Mavimbela, 82, well-known Relief Society and civic leader and humanitarian in Soweto, South Africa, died July 16, 2000, South Africa. Even before joining the Church in Soweto in 1981, Sister Mavimbela was known in South Africa. In the late 1930s, she was able to obtain an education that was available to few black women and later became one of the first black women principals in the Transvaal Province. Through the years, she started a women's club, a youth group, and was president of the National Council of African Women. She taught organic gardening to youngsters and their parents, succeeding in creating gardens in areas no larger than doorways. She organized women's clubs to encourage homemaking and thrift. Fluent in seven languages, she used her teaching skills to direct literacy programs. Sister Mavimbela was also a founder-member and co-national president of Women for Peace, an organization of all races with a membership of more than 15,000 women. In 1991, she was elected as vice president of the National Council of Women for South Africa the first black woman elected to this position.
Among Sister Mavimbela's many Church callings, was her service as president of the Soweto Branch Relief Society. In 1995, she was presented the BYU presidential citation by former BYU President Rex E. Lee during graduation ceremonies in Provo, Utah. She is also featured in the Church video, "Lives of Service," which portrays Church members in Africa who serve their people.