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Ruth Neto (Angola)

The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in

Ruth Neto (Angola) Awarded for:
Her excellent contribution to fighting for the liberation of southern Africa. She has also always stood for the empowerment of African women.
Profile of Ruth Neto (Angola)

Ruth Neto’s youth is characterised by acts of leadership and defiance against injustices in her own country of Angola or in countries with a history of injustices. She served on the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA-PT) Central Committee and as secretary-general of the Pan African Women’s Organisation (PAWO), which had its headquarters in Luanda. The PAWO helped sponsor Angola’s annual celebration of Women’s Day, which was also attended by representatives from neighbouring countries and liberation movements in South Africa and Namibia.

Neto was not afraid to be vocal against organisations that she viewed as counterproductive. In Angola she spoke against the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola-Youth Movement (Juventude do – Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola), the Organisation of Angolan Women (Organização da Mulher Angolana), and the United Nations Regular Programme for Technical Assistance. These organisations were founded as anticolonial social movements during the 1960s and transformed into party affiliates when the MPLA-PT became a vanguard party in 1977. Although these groups were formally subordinate to the party in accordance with Marxist-Leninist doctrine, they continued to operate with relative autonomy.