Category Archives: ANC

Stephen Pandula Gawe


It is with deep grief and sadness to inform the South African society about the untimely death of Comrade Stephen Pandula Gawe.

Comrade Stephen Pandula Gawe passed away on the 18 th July 2018 while he was visiting his daughters in Oxford, Britain.

Comrade Gawe is the off-spring of the late Reverend Walker and Regina Gawe who were the active Members of the ANC before it was banned. The former was the President of ANC in the Cape Province and one of the accused in the 1956 Treason Trial.

He was born 5 January 1938 in King Williams Town at St. Chad Mission House. He matriculated at St. Matthews School in 1955 before proceeding to the University of Fort Hare where his studies for BA Honours were abruptly disrupted when he was detained at Fort Glamorgan Prison, for ANC underground activities.

Shortly thereafter, he left the country to continue with his studies at Trinity College, Oxford; Edenburg and Nottingham Universities. His working career started in the ANC offices in London under the then Chief Rep., Cde Mendi Msimang. Later, he became the ANC Chief Rep. in Italy. He represented ANC in various international platforms as part of gaining international solidarity and isolation of apartheid racist minority regime.

Post- apartheid and after the democratic breakthrough, he became South African Ambassador in Norway and Director in the Diplomatic School of the Department of International Relations, respectively. His last posting before retirement was being the Ambassador in Denmark.

He was married to the late Tokie Mzamo-Gawe with whom they were blessed with two daughters, Nomtha and Vuyo. At the time of his death, he was married to Dudu Khoza- Gawe.

He is leaving behind his Wife, Dudu Khoza-Gawe; daughters Nomtha Gray and Vuyo Gawe and Grand- children, Jonas and


His Memorial/ Funeral Services will be held at Congregation Church, Peelton, King Williams Town on Saturday 11 August 2018.

Billy Modise


It is with deep sorrow and a profound sense of sadness that the Modise family and the ANC Veterans League announce the death of struggle veteran, Ambassador Billy Modise.

Soft spoken, unassuming, immaculate, determined cadre of the struggle, always wearing a broad and engaging smile, Ambassador Modise was a quintessential diplomat who straddled the world with the ease and confidence.

We make bold to say that he was one of those rare individuals whose immense contribution to the freedom of Southern Africa will forever be carved in the history of our stormy struggle.

Ambassador Billy Modise was born on 18th of December 1930 in Bloemfontein, in the then-Orange Free State. He received an Anglican scholarship which enabled him to enrol for his secondary school in Modeerport.

The racial discrimination imposed by apartheid which forced black people and his personal experiences of racism served as a political awakening for Modise. In January 1955 he enrolled at the University of Fort Hare to study medicine. It was while he was on his way to Fort Hare that he resolved to join the African National Congress (ANC).

As a student at Fort Hare, he came into contact with political heavyweights, Professor ZK Mathews and Govan Mbeki who inspired him to become politically active.

Here he was elected Secretary of the ANC Youth League for the Fort Hare branch, and later served as secretary of the Student Representative Council. Ambassador Modise also became a member of the National Union of Students (NUSAS) serving as an executive member.

In 1960, the ANC advised him to leave the country. It was also at that time that the Lund University Students Union in Sweden offered him a scholarship.

While in Lund, Sweden, he began mobilising university students and civil society organisations to implore support against Apartheid regime. He was a founder member of the South African Committee in Lund alongside Lars-Erik Johansson and Ulf Agrell. The Committee convened meetings, posted posters, pamphlets and lobbied parliamentarians in order to inform and educate Sweden and her people about the atrocities under which our people were suffering.

Owing to the demands of political work, he gave up studying medicine and switched to Sociology. Ambassador Modise met students from other liberation movements in Africa who were also studying at Lund. His work later extended to cover liberation movements from across Southern Africa.

While mobilisation began only in one institution, between 1960 and 1972 it spread to other countries, with Ambassador Modise travelling to mobilise people in Finland, Denmark and Norway to boycott South African products.

In 1975, Ambassador Modise was sent to New York in the United States to work for Habitat, the United Nations (UN) Conference on Human Settlements. His role was preparing policy papers on issues of resettlement.

Between 1976 and 1988, he worked as Assistant Director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Lusaka, Zambia. This was when he closely worked with Namibians, providing training in political science, sociology and on education.

In 1988 he left the UN to work fulltime for the ANC under the leadership of comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo. Subsequently, he was deployed to Sweden where he served as the ANC’s chief representative.

Ambassador Modise returned to South Africa in 1990 and was deployed at the ANC head office in Johannesburg. He was tasked with heading the Matla Trust, which was established to prepare for the 1994 elections. After the first democratic elections, Ambassador Modise was posted abroad as South Africa’s High Commissioner to Canada in 1995. He also served as the Chief of State Protocol under President Thabo Mbeki from 1999 to 2006.

He leaves behind his wife, Yolisa; daughter, Thandi; grandson, Kgositsile; sister Dora; nephews and nieces.

May his soul rest in eternal peace

Snuki Zikalala

Eddie Funde


For all those who knew Ambassador Eddie Sonwabo Funde and walked with him through the boulevard of struggle, none can contradict the fact that he was imbued with a spirit of no surrender. His path, a seesaw of unimaginable dimensions, would land him in different positions, on different continents and at different times.

A humble and unassuming gentle giant, he was always ready to serve the South Africa nation.

It was on the 22nd of May when we all received the sad and devastating news that Bra Eddie, as we fondly called him, passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Having joined the ANC after it was banned in 1961, he, like his peers of like mind, left the country in 1965 and joined Umkhonto we Sizwe, the spear and shield of the struggling masses of the people. He went on to study in Russia, gaining an MSc in Electrical Engineering in 1975.

In 1978, the ANC leadership appointed him to establish and head the ANC Youth Section.

The year 1980 smiled broadly on bra Eddie. It was then that he got married to Nosizwe Funde nee Toni in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she was pursuing her studies in engineering. The two love birds had been an ‘item’ since 1977.

He served the ANC in different parts of the world and in various capacities. In 1983 he was sent by the ANC as its Chief representative in Australasia and the Pacific.

He plunged into this work with his usual enthusiasm, building lasting friendships with Australians from all walks of life.

Back home Bra Eddie served first as Administrator and Researcher of the Civil Service Unit of the ANC. Later he was tasked with the establishment of the South African Research and Development.

Thereafter he served in an executive and non-executive capacity in the Independent Development Trust. He also served on key boards, including Denel, Eskom and Murray and Roberts.

Bra Eddie became very active in the telecommunication sector. He pioneered and developed the White Paper on Telecommunications Policy which resulted in the formation of the SA Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA) and became its deputy chairperson.

As Chairperson of the SABC Board from 2004 to 2008 Bra Eddie and his Deputy Christine Qunta transformed the public broadcaster, ensuring that it delivered on its mandate.

They both supported the noble idea of positioning the SABC as the best Pan African public broadcaster that would compete and come up with an alternative view to

well-established broadcasters like the BBC and CNN. SABC News International was born out of this initiative, an initiative that was later scuttled by forces of doom and regression.

It was during his deployment as Ambassador in 2010 that Bra Eddie met with an accident that confined him to a wheel chair. However, always optimistic, he carried on with his telecommunications initiatives and ANC political work.

The worst was when their house was burnt down in May 2016. They lost everything that they worked hard for. Bra Eddie did not lose heart.

Strong willed, Bra Eddie was part of the ANC stalwarts and veterans

delegation that met our ANC leadership and insisted that the Veterans League be revitalized and a second conference of the League be convened.

His dream of the conference was realized when our leadership agreed to the convening of the Veterans League conference in October 2017.

Bra Eddie, your calls will be missed. Every Monday or Tuesday, I would receive a call from you where you’d insist on being briefed on the activities of the Veterans League. Bra Eddie would say, Snuki!, I would reply good morning bra Eddie .In a conciliatory and persuasive tone, he would say “when and how is the Veterans League going to implement its resolutions and those of the ANC,in uniting society ,getting rid of corruption, factionalism and gate keeping. Remember ,he would say ,conference took a resolution that an electronic membership system which will get rid of gate keeping be introduced. When is your

collective going to establish the Veterans Leagues Branches and Regions. Veterans must be at the forefront of uniting the ANC and society. We must humble ourselves and admit where we have erred. As veterans we must do door to door campaigns and ensure that the youth registers to vote and that we regain our rightful place as the leader of society. History will judge us harshly if we as veterans do not actively participate and ensure that there is intensive political education in the structures of the ANC. You must ensure that Veterans participate in all ANC committees and give guidance where necessary. We must be at the forefront in mobilising society for a successful victory in the coming 2019 elections.”

Bra Eddie as Veterans of the ANC, we are always ready to serve and will not disappoint you.

We shall deeply miss you.

Lala Ngoxolo Bra Eddie. We will always miss your undying fighting spirit.

Snuki Zikalala

President of the ANC Veterans League

Archie Sibeko


Today 21 April 2018, we bid farewell to two giants of the
ANC and the Luthuli detachment, comrade Zola Skweyiya
who is presently being buried in Tshwane, and comrade
Archie Sibeko Aka- Zola Zembe popularly known as ZZ who
is put to rest here at Kwezana village near Alice.
We hazard to say, in the words of one our former presidents:
Not anywhere in free South Africa, stand a statue and a
monument which speak to us and all future time to say: once
upon a time, our country was blessed to have as its citizens
these who, though dead, are brought to life by every day’s
dawn, that portends fulfilment for all the people of our
motherland. Comrade ZZ , is one of those brave men and
women who vowed by the spirit of no surrender who the
former president referred to, the generation of the roaring

Comrade ZZ, a recipient of the Order of Luthuli in Silver, was
a member of the ANC and the South African Communist
Party. He was arrested and accused in the Treason Trial in
1956. However, he remained a champion in the struggle for
the liberation of South Africa.
Comrade ZZ was forced to leave the country when the ANC
was banned in 1960 and joined Umkhonto We Sizwe. He
wasamongst the first to be sent to the front to do battle with
both the Rhodesian government and the Apartheid military
In exile one of comrade ZZ task was also to mobilize funds from the international community to support the SouthAfrican trade union movement. These funds were channeled
to specific unions to support their underground work.On a personal note, I first met comrade ZZ when he frequented Botswana in the mid 70’s before the Soweto
uprising. He helped to build strong underground structures of the ANC and SACTU inside the country. Comrades Isaac Makopo, Keith Mokoape and I would secure safe houses in Gaborone where he clandestinely met operatives from South Africa.
During the Soweto uprisings, when thousands of young
people fled the country to be trained as freedom fighters,
Comrade Zola Zembe was always there at our residence in
Bontleng in Gaborone, where he provided political education
to the young impatient militants.
His commitment to strong trade unions saw the birth of
COSATU and a strong South African Railways and Harbours
Workers Union(SARHWU).
Comrade ZZ is one of the last generation of ANC stalwart and
veteran who were members of the South African Railway &
Harbours Workers Union (SARHWU) and who later co-
founded the first nonracial trade union movement, South
African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) in March 1955.

As an honest, dedicated and committed cadre of our
glorious movement the ANC, the split in COSATU, the demise
of SARHWU, which is now the South African Transport and
Allied Workers Union, and the gradual drop in the ANC
confidence from the masses of our people, occasioned by
arrogance, factionalism, gatekeeping ,corruption and
dishonesty, has taken a toll on your health.
As the Veterans League of the ANC, we would like to assure
you that we shall strive to bring back the sacred values and
traditions of our glorious movement.
In your honor we commit to work hard and tirelessly to
unite the South African society, the ANC and its
revolutionary alliance. We shall endeavor to mobilize
resources to form credible branches and regions of the ANC
Veterans League.
We will hold our leadership to account and ensure that your
teachings and the values of our glorious movement of
selfness, honesty are upheld.
As always, we are ready to serve.
Lala ngo xolo Cde Zola Zembe
Snuki Zikalala
President of the ANC Veterans League


Cde Joel “Peter Mayibuye” Netshitendze wrote:

“We really have to do a lot of work in order to educate our people and not only young ones but older ones who joined the ANC in 2007.

When the ANC was banned by the apartheid government,we went underground and continue to operate.Some of our members were imprisoned,some went to exile and some remained in the country.We had to come up with all methods of keeping the struggle forward.That didn’t mean that the enemy was relaxing. It infiltrated our operations,planted spies and created askaries.

Most of the UDF leaders were ANC members who either came from prison and so on. Archie Gumede was an ANC member and his father was the past ANC president in the 1927.Albertina Sisulu was the ANC member and was her husband. So UDF was the internal ANC structure hence it was done away with when the ANC was unbanned. To use Mama Winnie name as her not being the member of the UDF shows political naivete and immaturity.

The press conference addressed by Murphy Morobe was called by the Mass Democratic Movement and not the UDF. There was Cosatu, Civics,Soweto Chamber of Commerce,Cosas,Soweto Youth Congress,Azasco(SASCO),SA Council of Churches,etc.This came as results of many attempts made to requests Cde Winnie to dismantle the Mandela FC as it was infiltrated by the enemy and terrorising the community. “

Anc football club


Recently there has been serious developments pertaining to the activities of the group known as the Mandela Football Club, which have raised great concern within the mass democratic movement and the struggling people as a whole. The ANC shares the concern of the people and has all the time tried to intervene to find an amicable solution to the problem.
In the light of reports about its activities in the recent past, our organisation, complementing the initiatives of leading personalities of the mass democratic movement, tried to use its influence to bring about the disbanding of the group.
Unfortunately our counsel was not heeded by Comrade Winnie Mandela. The situation has been further complicated by the fact that she did not belong to any structures and, therefore, did not benefit from the discipline, counselling and collectivity of the mass democratic movement. Under these circumstances, she was left open and vulnerable to committing mistakes, which the enemy exploited.
One such instance relates to the so-called Mandela Football Club. In the course of time, the club engaged in unbecoming activities which have angered the community. We fully understand the anger of the people and their organisations towards this club. We have every reason to believe that the club was infiltrated by the enemy and that most of its activities were guided by the hands of the enemy for the purpose of causing disunity within the community and discrediting the name of Nelson Mandela and the organisation of which he is the leader. Our people should not allow this.
The ANC calls on our people to close ranks and exercise maximum vigilance against the vile machinations of the enemy. Our position is that the problem arising from the activities of the Mandela Football Club can and must be solved within the ambit of the democratic movement as a whole, both at local and national levels. This must be done in the shortest possible time. To realise this, it is necessary that Comrade Winnie Mandela is helped to find her way into the structures and discipline of the mass democratic movement. It will be of paramount importance that she co-operates with all those involved in the resolution of the problem. We are confident that the mass democratic movement will open its doors to her in the interests of our people and the struggle.
There is a need to create a climate in which all problems facing the community, including the unfortunate death of Stompie Moeketsi Seipei, a committed young lion, who has made an immense contribution [unclear] to foster unity rather than let the enemy use them to achieve its ends. The ANC takes this opportunity to convey its heartfelt condolences to the parents, relatives and community of Stompie Moeketsi Seipei. It is with a feeling of terrible sadness that we consider it necessary to express our reservations about Winnie Mandela’s judgement in relation to the Mandela Football Club.
But we should not forget that Comrade Winnie Mandela has gone through have had immense contribution to the liberation struggle. She has not only suffered the anguish of over a quarter of a century of separation from her husband but has also experienced unending persecution at the hands of the regime such as banishment, imprisonment, torture and sustained harassment over a period of more than two decades. Bearing the name of Mandela [unclear], she increasingly became one of the symbols of resistance to racist tyranny both at home and abroad.
We firmly believe, without prejudging all the issues which have been raised in relation to the problem, that whatever mistakes were made should be viewed against the background of her overall contribution of the one hand and the activities of the enemy on the other. Viewed in this light, we consider it important that the movement as a whole adopt a balanced approach to the problems that have arisen. The ANC, for its part, will continue to work for the unity of our people and we have no doubt that all those who have participated in the attempts to solve this problem have done so in the best interests of our struggle. Statement issued by the ANC over Radio Freedom, 21 February 1989

Zola Skweyiya


The months of March and April this year, with dark clouds seemingly hovering over us to no end, have emotionally drained the South African nation, particularly the ANC and its Veterans League. For it was during this period that we first lost struggle Veteran Comrade Zola Zembe, followed by Mama Winnie Mandela, then diplomat extraordinaire Ambassador George “Dikgang” Nene, and now our committed, compassionate and dedicated Comrade Zola Skweyiya, who left us on 14 April, three days before his birthday. He would have turned 76 years of age. Thus, in a short space of time we lost selfless leaders who infinitely cared about the country, its people and their glorious movement, the ANC. These are elders who were a repository of the ANC ‘s history and traditions.

The four stalwarts mentioned above were always concerned about the downward trajectory of the ANC over the past ten years. They lamented how precipitously their movement had strayed from its strategic objectives. They agonized deeply when witnessing its gradual downward trend and how society was gradually distancing itself from this, their once formidable organization.
Comrade Zola Skweyiya was a member of the ANC Veterans League and became part of the ANC Stalwarts and Veterans who penned an open letter to the ANC, imploring for an immediate intervention to deal with the rot that was systematically
devouring their organization and destroying their country from within.

He attended all the convened Stalwarts and Veterans meetings and participated actively in searching for ways in which the stalwarts and veterans could intervene with the view to save their country and their glorious movement from utter and total destruction.
The President of the Veterans League recalls the hours he would confer with Comrade Zola during those critical times:

“At those meetings where at times I would sit next to him and later discuss with him during tea breaks, he would shake his head with dismay and ask rhetorically how it came about that we allowed the movement to stray away from its strategic path of delivering quality basic services to society so as to contribute in our quest to better the lives of the poor.” Why, he would ask, are there no repercussions against those who openly squander and steal resources of the country with such impunity, damaging the brand, image and integrity of the movement? Why, he enquired, is the Executive not held to account by the NEC of the ANC and by members of parliament? The patronage that is easily dispensed, he intoned, must be nipped in the bud.

It is the Stalwarts and Veterans who put pressure on our leadership to convene the second Veterans League conference which took place in October 2017. The last conference was held in 2009 when it was established. The outcome of the 54th ANC national conference in October 2017 ushered a new dawn and gave hope to millions of South Africans that the country and the ANC were on the road to recovery and renewal.

To this end, the president of the ANC and of the country Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa wasted no time and met with the stalwarts and veterans delegation and the Veterans League on 12 March this year. His was to recognize the role that was played by the stalwarts and veterans and requested that they be part of the ANC Veterans League and play a meaningful and constructive role of building unity in the country and the ANC, thus taking their rightful place as the custodians of the ANC values and traditions.

“Lying in bed at the hospital where he was admitted and watching the news as the meeting was reported, Comrade Zola called me and demanded that I brief him on the outcome of the meeting. Refusing to heed my plea that he rest as everything was in order, he said he was more concerned about its future and how we as the real veterans of the ANC could help in fixing what has been severely damaged. As a parting shot he commanded that I should come to see him as soon as I could.”

“A week later I paid him a visit at the hospital and briefed him comprehensively on how the ANC Veterans League was striving to unite all members of society and helping to build structures of the ANC.” Comrade Zola was assured by the Veterans League President that the league will support all initiatives by the current leadership to unite the ANC and society. He was informed that the Veterans League would assist the mother body to rebuild strong and credible branches of the ANC.

Comrade Zola, we as Veterans of the ANC are alive to the fact that you gave the struggle your all. Even during your last hours, your concerns had been how to save this glorious movement and ensure that it delivers on its strategic objectives. We shall double our efforts and ensure that your movement, the people’s movement, returns to its former glory.
As always we are ready to serve and will not disappoint you.

Lala Ngoxolo Boet Zola. Fervently do we implore you to let the Luthuli Detachment members who left before you, know that we will soldier on and will defend the gains of our revolution.

Snuki Zikalala
President of the ANC Veterans League

President Cyril Ramaphosa


14 APRIL 2018

Programme Directors, Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Chairperson of the NCOP Thandi Modise,
Members of the Mandela and Madikizela families,
HE President Denis Sassou Nguesso,
HE President Hage Geingob,
Deputy President David Mabuza,
Speaker of the National Assembly Ms Baleka Mbete,
Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers,
Visiting Former Presidents and Prime Ministers,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Heads of Delegations from Sister Countries and Multilateral Organisations,
Your Majesties and all Traditional Leaders,
Distinguished International Leaders,
Leaders of South African Political Parties,
Members of Parliament,
Heads of Delegations from Fraternal Parties,
Friends, Comrades,
Fellow South Africans

We gather here to bid farewell to Mam’ Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela – a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, a sister, a great leader who we have come to refer to as the Mother of our Nation.

Just as we are burdened by the sorrow of her death, so too are we comforted by the richnessand profound meaning of her life.

The pain we carry in our hearts cannot be extinguished.
Nor should we be denied our joy in recalling the life of so wondrous a person.
We gather here not only to pay our final respects to a great African woman, but to affirm the common humanity that, through her life, she revealed in us.
Her life was dedicated to the unity of the daughters and sons of the African soil.
Her life was dedicated to the unity of the oppressed of all nations.

In death, she has brought us all together, from near and far, across many nations and continents, to mourn, to pay homage, to remember and to fondly reminisce.

In death, she has demonstrated that our many differences along political party and racial linesand the numerous disputes we may have areeclipsed by our shared desire to follow her lead in building a just, equitable and caring society.

Hers was a life of service.
It was a life of compassion.
She chose as her vocation the alleviation of the suffering of others.
She trained and worked as one who provides support and care and comfort to those most deeply affected by poverty, hunger and illness.
Yet, like many of the great leaders of her generation, she understood that the suffering she encountered did not happen on the edges of society.
Such suffering defined society.

She saw for herself the deliberate intent of the apartheid rulers to impoverish the people of this country.
Her conscience, her convictions, left her with no choice but to resist.
She felt compelled to join a struggle that was as noble in its purpose as it was perilous in its execution.

She felt compelled to speak when others were rendered silent.
She felt compelled to organise, to mobilise, to lead when those who led our people had beensent across the bay to the Island, whilst others were forced to flee beyond our borders or were martyred by a state that knew no mercy.

She felt compelled to pick up the spear where ithad fallen.
It was a spear that, throughout the darkest moments of our struggle, she wielded with great courage, unequivocal commitment and incredible skill.
Her formidable will was matched by a keen political sense and a presence that inspired both awe and admiration.

As a potent symbol of resistance, as the steadfast bearer of the name ‘Mandela’, she was seen by the enemy as a threat to the raciststate.
She was an African woman who – in her attitude, her words and her actions – defied the very premise of apartheid ideology and male superiority.
Proud, defiant, articulate, she exposed the lie of apartheid.
She laid bare the edifice of patriarchy.

She challenged the attitudes, norms, practices and social institutions that perpetuated – in ways both brutal and subtle – the inferior status of women.
Loudly and without apology, she spoke truth to power.
And it was those in power who, insecure and fearful, visited upon her the most vindictive and callous retribution.
Yet, through everything, she endured.
They could not break her.
They could not silence her.
After Nelson Mandela was jailed, she said:
“They think, because they have put my husband on an island, that he will be forgotten. They are wrong. The harder they try to silence him, the louder I will become!”.

And she became evermore so bold and loud.
They thought they could ‘banish’ her toBrandfort.

They miscalculated greatly because in truth,they sent her to live among her people – to share in their trials, tribulations and hardships, to share their hopes and aspirations, and to draw courage from their daily struggle againstthe tyranny of racial subjugation.
The enemy expected her to return from Brandfort diminished, broken and defeated.
They expected her to succumb to the excruciating pressure of years of solitary confinement, harassment and vilification.
Instead, she emerged from these tormentsemboldened, driven by a burning desire to give voice to the aspirations of her people.
To give them hope. To give them courage.
To lead them to freedom.
It was not long ago that we celebrated with Mama Winnie her 80th birthday.
On that occasion, we recited the poem by Maya Angelou, “And still I rise”.
It is only fitting that we should do so again today,for Maya Angelou could easily have written this poem to describe Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard?
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise”.

Like so many of our people she has lived with fear, pain, loss and disappointment.
And yet each day she rose with the nobleness of the human spirit.
They sought to denigrate her with bitter and twisted lies, but still she rose.
They wanted to see her broken, with bowed head and lowered eyes, and weakened by soulful cries, but still she rose.
As we bid her farewell, we are forced to admit that too often as she rose, she rose alone.
Too often, we were not there for her.
The day after she died, the ANC’s top six leaders went to her home to pay our condolences to her family.
Zenani Mandela, reflecting on her mother’s life and overcome by emotion, said: “My mother suffered. She had a very difficult life.”
Then she burst into tears.

That statement and those tears have stayed with me since that day.
Zenani’s tears revealed Mam’ Winnie’s wounds.
It brought to mind the moment when Jesus said to the apostle Thomas as recorded in the book of John 20:27:
“Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.”
In essence, Jesus was saying to the apostle: “Touch my wounds.”
During this period of mourning many South Africans have been touching Mam’ Winnie’s wounds.

It ought to have been done long ago. For she wore the gaping wounds of her people.
She had been left to tend her wounds on her own for most of her life.
Left alone to fend for herself only caused her more pain.
But she touched our wounds all the time.
When we lost our loved ones, when people were in pain, overcome with anger, prone to violence, she came to touch our wounds.
She bore witness to our suffering.
She bandaged our wounds.
We did not do the same for her.
In her book ‘Part of My Soul Went with Him’, she wrote:

“I have ceased a long time ago to exist as an individual. The ideals, the political goals that I stand for, those are the ideals and goals of the people in this country. They cannot just forget their own ideas. My private self doesn’t exist. Whatever they do to me, they do to the people in the country. I am and will always be only a political barometer.

“From every situation I have found myself in, you can read the political heat in the country at a particular time. When they send me into exile, it’s not me as an individual they are sending. They think that with me they can also ban the political ideas. But that is a historical impossibility. They will never succeed in doing that. I am of no importance to them as an individual. What I stand for is what they want to banish. I couldn’t think of a greater honour.”

Her healing from the deep wounds inflicted on her was incomplete.

We must continue to touch Mama’s wounds, acknowledge her immense pain and torment, and pass on the stories of her suffering to future generations so that it may always be known that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was a giant, a pathfinder, a soldier, a healer, a champion of people’s struggles and forever the Mother of the Nation.

We must also recognise our own wounds as a nation.
We must acknowledge that we are a society that is hurting, damaged by our past, numbed by our present and hesitant about our future.

This may explain why we are easily prone to anger and violence.
Many people saw Mam’ Winnie as their mother because her own wounds made her real and easy to relate to.

It is only when you experience real pain yourself that you can recognise it in others and offer comfort.

That is what Mam’ Winnie did for decades, particularly when she stood alone as a bulwark against the apartheid regime, when she wiped away people’s tears, carried their coffins and inspired violence-fatigued communities to carryon.

Mam’ Winnie was a witness to the truths andhorrors of our nation, not only because of her own hardships but because of her courage.

Like the women who went to Jesus’s tomb after the men ran away, she was perpetually in the trenches, never afraid that it would be too much for her to bear.

When it was safe to do so, the men took over again and the women were relegated to a supporting role.
Mam’ Winnie provided leadership at the most difficult periods and sought no reward.
Like women throughout our society do every day, she toiled and never claimed glory.

Mam’ Winnie was universal and timeless.
As we continue to touch her wounds, we must be brave enough to share her life and legacy across our society and with the people she loved.

Shortly before her death, we had a conversation about her concerns, her worries and her wishes.

She spoke of her deep desire for unity and the renewal not only of the movement that she loved dearly, but of the nation.
She wanted a South African nation that wouldheal the divisions of the past and eradicate the inequality and injustice of the present.

She wanted us to honour the commitment in the Freedom Charter that the people should share in the country’s wealth and that the land should be shared amongst those who work it and be returned.
She spoke of many thoughts she had about how the revolutionary ideals and morality of her movement should be restored and not be undermined by corruption and self-enrichment.

Just as Mam’ Winnie has united us in sorrow, let us honour her memory by uniting in common purpose.

Let us honour her memory by pledging here that we will dedicate all our resources, all our efforts, all our energy to the empowerment of the poor and vulnerable.
Let us honour her memory by pledging here that we will not betray the trust of her people, we will not squander or steal their resources, and that we will serve them diligently and selflessly.

The Mother of the Nation has died, but she is not gone.

She lives on in the young girl who today still walks the dusty streets of Mbongweni, resolutethat her life will not be defined by the poverty into which she was born, nor constrained by the attitudes to women that seek to demean her existence.

She lives on in the domestic worker who is determined that the suffering and sacrifice of her many years of servitude will not be visited on her children.

She lives on in the prisoner who regrets his choices as much as he bemoans his circumstances, who dearly seeks another chance to make a better life for his family.

She lives on in the engineer, who has defied discrimination and prejudice to build a career for herself in a field so long reserved for a privileged few.

She lives on in the social worker who tends to those in society who are neglected and abused, asking nothing for himself but the opportunity to serve.

She lives on in the Palestinian teenager who refuses to stand by as he is stripped of hishome, his heritage and his prospects for a peaceful, content and dignified life.

She lives on in the African-American woman, who though she lives in a country of great prosperity and progress, is still weighed down by the accumulated prejudice of generations.

She lives on even in the conscience of the apartheid security policeman who has yet to atone for his murderous ways, but whose humanity she sought to salvage and whose dignity she fought to restore.

She lives on in the movement to which she dedicated her life, as it seeks its way back to the path along which she led it.

She lives on in the nation that called her ‘Mama’, as it strives each day to fulfil its destiny as a united, peaceful, prosperous and just society.

Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has died, but she is not gone.
She lives on in all of us.
She inspires our actions.
She guides our struggles.
She remains our conscience.
May her soul rest in eternal peace.
May her spirit live forever.

Lala ngoxolo Nobantu, Ngutyana. Phapha. Makhalendlovu Msuthu. Msengetwa
qhawe lama qhawe.

I thank you.

George Nene


Born in Johannesburg on 12th June 1948

It was deeply saddening that on the evening of the 6th of April 2018, the day we commemorate the hanging and callous killing of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu by the apartheid regime in 1979, we lost one of our great intellectuals, freedom fighter and
consummate diplomat, Sipho George “Dikgang” Nene.

Born in White City Jabavu, Soweto, Comrade George completed his matric at Morris Isaacson High School in 1968. In 1970, he studied for a Secondary School Teachers Course at the University of Zululand. It was here that he joined the South African Student Organisation (SASO) and where he also became its office bearer. Upon completion, he returned to his alma matter, Morris Isaacson High School, where he taught and assisted in organizing students, some of whom became leaders of the June 16, 1976 uprisings.

Comrade George was recruited into the African National Congress (ANC) and uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) underground structures to fight effectively against the apartheid system. He was subsequently instructed to leave the country, after which he underwent military training in Pirivanhoe, in the then Soviet Union. He later spent a brief period as a military instructor in Benguela, Angola. He was then deployed to Maputo and Swaziland in the Special Operations.

A gallant fighter of MK June 16 detachment, he survived many attempts on his life, and was briefly detained in Swaziland for his underground activities. Comrade George was sent to Bulgaria where he completed a course in Political Studies at the Aonsu Academy in Sofia. He continued to amass knowledge and skills in Germany, Norway, France and the United Kingdom respectively.

This gentle giant later served under the direct leadership and tutelage of Comrade President OR Tambo, later to be appointed ANC Chief Representative to Nigeria. It was no coincidence that he became the first High Commissioner of a democratic South Africa. Upon his return to South Africa in 1990, he was kidnapped and briefly detained by the Askaries under apartheid enforcer Eugene de Kock. However, through the intervention of then ANC President Nelson Mandela, he was released.

Ambassador Nene served in many positions, including as Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN in Geneva, Deputy Director-General Multilateral Affairs, Special Advisor to the Minster of International Relations and Cooperation, Focal Point Member of the India Brazil- South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA), South African Sherpa to the G20, Board Member of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and Board member of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) before his retirement. In recognition of his experience and leadership qualities, Ambassador Nene was elected as the first Chairperson of the South African Association of Former Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Chief Representatives.

As a veteran of the struggle, Comrade George participated in both the conceptualisation and the formation of the MK National Council of Stalwarts and Veterans. He correctly believed that the ANC ought to continue to be the leader of society and advance the course of building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous South Africa.

The Nene family, his friends and the entire movement have lost a great intellectual, a selfless revolutionary who put the lives of the people first. He served with distinction and diligence.

May the soul of this gentle giant rest in Eternal Peace.
Issued by:
Snuki Zikalala
President of the ANC Veterans League


For Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1936 – 2018)

Today we grieve,
The mother of the nation has breathed her last,
today we reflect on her gallant past.
Today we mourn,
the falling of a giant tree,
who rattled the foundations of Apartheid,
in the collective struggle to be from oppression free.
Today we weep,
tears of sorrow and tears of pain,
for our mother who shall no longer walk amongst us again.
Today we sing,
songs of freedom and of profound loss,
as we remember the cruel and brutal obstacles she had to cross.
Today we reflect,
on the years of banishment and of solitary confinement she was made to suffer,
with no husband, no family, nothing but her will acting as her protective buffer.
Today we recall her strength,
as she fought alongside her comrades without a pause,
while remaining ever faithfully dedicated to the valiant struggle, to the cause.
Today we console each other as the truth cuts deep,
her life one of loss and of unimaginable pain,
as we call out our eternal refrain –
Hamba Kahle* Mama Winnie Mandela!
We will not give up your fight!
Matla ke a Rona!**
The Struggle Continues.
Viva the undying spirit of Winnie Mandela!
Viva the struggle against racism and oppression!
_________* – Hamba Kahle – an isiXhosa and isiZulu term meaning “travel well” – often used when bidding a departed one adieu.* – Matla ke a Rona – victory is certain – a slogan during the struggle against Apartheid oppression and racial discrimination.Afzal Moolla
On behalf of the stalwarts and veterans of the ANC who are signatories to the “For the Sake of our Future” document.