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
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
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
President of the ANC Veterans League