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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mbeki sends condolences to Malawian leader

President Thabo Mbeki and first lady Zanele have sent their condolences to Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika following the death of his wife Ethel, the foreign affairs Department said on Tuesday

"The government and people of South Africa join the loved ones, family and friends of Madame Mutharika in prayer and mourning during this time of sorrow and bereavement", said Mbeki in a statement.

The Malawians had suffered a huge loss as Ethel was a great mother to the Malawian nation, said Mbeki.

Malawi's first lady died on Monday after battling an unspecified illness.

The Malwian government officials had refused to reveal the cause of her death or her age.

According to media reports, the first lady who seldom made public appearance was said to be in her 60's and suffered from cancer.

Zimbabwean-born Ethel was the head of a foundation that bore her name and helped poor women in income-generating activities.

She is survived by her husband and four children. - Sapa

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