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Dorothy Zihlangu Transitional House

The Dorothy Zihlangu Shelter operates as a transitional house programme offering immediate shelter for battered and abused women and their children for up to three months.

Who can seek shelter at the transitional house? 

Any woman, with or without children, who has been physically, emotionally, verbally, financially, psychologically or sexually abused will be welcomed into the transitional house. 


Are children also welcome?

Yes, women and their children can seek shelter here. The house also assists women who want to remove their children away from abuse at home.

Are there any additional services?

Yes, women are also offered psychosocial support so that they can move on successfully with their lives after leaving the house. These services include: counselling and advice; crisis intervention; legal advice; referrals services; training and education and access to support groups.

Dorothy Nomazotsho Zihlangu.jpg

Dorothy Nomazotsho Zihlangu was born in 1920 at Dyamala Village in Alice in the Eastern Cape. She
went to Cape Town to improve her educational qualifications, however, financial constraints
prevented her from doing so. She then found a job as a domestic worker in Green Point.


In 1941, she was forcibly relocated from the Cape Town City Centre to Langa Township under the Group Areas Act where she joined the African National Congress (ANC) and later the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL).

In 1956, she participated in the historic Women's March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest the draconian pass laws which were extended to women. In 1960, Zihlangu participated in the one-day stay-at-home protest, during which people had to surrender their dompasses at their nearest police stations.


In April 1960, she was, along with many other women activists, arrested and detained for six months under the State of Emergency regulations. At that time, she was pregnant and immediately after her release, she gave birth to a son, Melisizwe. She was banned and placed under house arrest with her husband.


At the beginning of the State of Emergency in the mid-1980s, Zihlangu went into hiding, but continued to work underground for the ANC. However, the police later arrested her. In 1988, she was part of the group of persons who decided to defy their banning
orders. This forced the State to lift the banning orders but other restrictions were imposed on them.

Mama Zihlangu passed away in 1991.

In 2005, the South African Government conferred The Order of Luthuli in Silver to Dorothy Nomazotsho Zihlangu for her contribution to the struggle for gender equality and her selfless contribution to the struggle for a free and democratic South Africa.

Dorothy Zihlangu

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