South African women’s council elects LDS as its vice president

Julia Mavimbela, a Gospel Doctrine teacher and former Relief Society president in the Soweto (South Africa) Branch, was elected Nov. 4 as vice president of the National Council of Women for South Africa.

She is the first black woman elected as a vice president of the council. Sister Mavimbela, 73, a convert of nine years, was elected unanimously in Johannesburg by white members of the National Council of Women. Her election came within two months of the repeal of apartheid laws in South Africa.Being a pioneer for her people is not new to Sister Mavimbela. In the late 1930s, she obtained an education available to few black women at that time, and became one of the first black women principals in the Transvaal Province in South Africa.

She is well known for her community service. Through the years, she started a women's club, a youth group and was president of the Transvaal Region of the National Council of African Women. She taught organic gardening to youth and their parents and created gardens in areas no larger than doorways. She was a co-founder member and co-national president of Women for Peace, an organization of all races with a membership of more than 15,000 women.

She is featured in a video, "Lives of Service," which portrays Church members in Africa who serve their people. (Church News, Aug. 17, 1991.)