EULOGY BY THE ANC PROVINCIAL CHAIRPERSON, CDE SIHLE ZIKALALA, AT THE FUNERAL OF CDE TOLOMANE MNYAYIZA - 30 DECEMBER 2016
The Mnyayiza family and all relatives
The ANC Provincial Leadership
The Lower South Coast Regional Leadership
The leadership of other regions present
The Leadership of the ANC in O.R. Tambo Region and the Eastern Leadership
Alliance, Leagues and MKMVA Leaders
The Leadership of SALGA
The Leadership of Ugu District and its family of municipalities
It is with a heavy heart and sadness that we extend our sombre greetings to the family, comrades and friends gathered with us here today as we lay to rest our beloved comrade, the son of the revolution moulded by the people’s struggle Cde Tolomane Mnyayiza whose premature departure has left us in a state of shock.
I am quite certain that none amongst us had ever planned to be here today yet when the call prevailed none amongst us would have resisted being here. I’m saying this because I know that many of us gathered here share a common view that the departure of Cde Tolomane was not only untimely but a monumental loss that is not only felt by the contemporary generations but will be felt by coming generations.
Like anything under the sun, the day Cde Tolomane was born we also knew that at some stage he will depart for eternity for there is nothing eternal under the sun. What we did not know is that is departure would be so untimely as he departs at time when our movement is in dire need for the cadreship of his character and conduct.
Our glorious movement is anchored on its membership. Some within the membership will rise to be leaders of the movement. Some will transcend both membership and leadership to become cadres of this movement. When I talk about cadres I take about those comrades who embody the values and ethos of our movement at all material times. Few, if any, will contest me when I assert that Cde Tolomane was a true cadre who embodied the values of the ANC and was indeed an anti-these of all the wrongs happening in the movement.
Forty-four years ago, Cde Tolomane was born into the world engulfed by high level darkness where the lives of Africans in particular only meant necessary cheap labour for the oppressors. Africans were the subject of inhumane atrocities perpetuated by the apartheid regime. In the very same 1973, the year on which Cde Tolomane was born, the workers broke their silence and embarked on the historic strike that encircled the whole of Durban.
That was not the end for the period of his upbringing was characterised by confrontations with the apartheid regime which was perpetuating its unholy suppression of Blacks in general and Africans in particular. Torture, arrest and killing of freedom fighters became something accepted and legalized including the notorious 1986 State of Emergence. But all of these could not intimidate Cde Tolomane from dedicating himself into the struggle for the people. Like Cde Solomon Mahlangu, he knew that should he be killed, his blood will nourish the tree that would bear the fruits of freedom.
Cde Tolomane belongs to the youth generation of the late 1980 that committed itself to the liberation struggle through their lives and vowed that life or death victory is certain. This youth generation knew about the preceding period of the arrest of many leaders such as former President Mandela. This generation knew the harshness of the apartheid regime including the killing of Victoria Mgxenge and many others. This generation got exposed to confrontations with the apartheid regime and the Black on Black violence sponsored by Pretoria Government. Nonetheless, all these harsh realities could not prevent them from dedicating themselves to free their own country. Instead of surrendering they said “even if we die [it is fine] we will be dying for the freedom of our own country”.
This is the commitment of the highest level, which will be surpassed by very few if any, when all cadres were prepared to pay the supreme price for freedom – freedom not only for themselves but for all coming generations. They were like El Commandante Fidel Castro who, when he was prosecuted by the oppressive regime of Batista in Cuba said condemn me it does matter, already many of many comrades are dead, by history will absolve me (Ruz, 1951).
The revolution has never been an easy walk and it shall never be easy and will have its casualties. I believe the difficulties associated with a revolution are well expressed by the timeless word of President Albert Luthuli when he said “what the freedom has in store for me I do not know. It might be ridiculed, imprisonment, concentration camp, flogging, banishment and event death. I only pray to the Almighty to strengthen my resolve so that none of these grim possibilities may deter me from striving, for the sake of the good name of our beloved country, to make it a true democracy and a union if form and spirit of all the communities in the land…it is inevitable that in working for Freedom some individuals and some families must take the lead and suffer. The Road to Freedom is via the CROSS”
Those who are committed to serve the revolution need the highest level of dedication, courage, patience and stamina. Those who honestly choose to lead the struggle should always be prepared not only for uphills but equally for setbacks. The freedom we enjoy today came because as revolutionaries we were committed to freedom notwithstanding the difficulties ahead. In this instance, I full concur with former President Thabo Mbeki who said “those who complete the course will do so only because they do not, as fatigue set in, convince themselves that the road ahead is still too long, the inclines too steep, the loneliness impossible to bear and the prize itself of doubtful value”.
I say this because at some point difficulties lead to presumption that the victory might not be attained. But the commitment of cadres like Cde Tolomane was steeped in knowing that prevailing difficulties should not deter the revolution from its strategic objectives. Cde Tolomane and his generation always appreciated that the road to freedom is via the cross. They knew that for the revolution to succeed, they must take a lead and suffer.
The perseverance of Cde Tolomane was only possible because he was an epitome of key attributes required by the revolution:
- Humility: This postulates humbleness in performing the task given and in interaction with the people. Cde Tolomane was humbled and he viewed arrogance and self-glorification as anti-theses of what the ANC stands for. Because he was humble, he could easily engage with any person without regard to social or leadership status. His humility attracted more people to the ranks of the ANC.
- Service and Sacrifice: The live any member of the ANC worthy to be called a cadre is always steeped in the culture of service and sacrifice. This entails dedicating your being for the benefit of the people as a whole. It means preparedness to suffer and make sacrifices for the benefit the people. Cde Tolomane lived for the people and died working for the people. At times he will put the interests of the people ahead of his own health. As illness started to affect his life, he never stopped working for the people as the Chairperson of the ANC in Lower South Coast Region and as the Mayor of Ugu District.
- Selflessness: This value entails working for the people without expectation of any material reward. During his entire life, Cde Tolomane never worked for self-enrichment or for the enrichment of his family and friends. To him, benefits will only come at the same level and same time as those of the people as a whole. It was never about him but about the people. This resonate with greatest dedication amplified by Che Quavara who when he vacated a Minister to fight for the liberation of the people of Bolivia, he said to Fidel Castro: “I am not sorry that I leave nothing material to my wife and children; I am happy it is that way. I ask nothing for them, as the state will provide them with enough to live on and receive an education.
- Preparedness to learn: If there is one thing that is permanent in this world is change itself. Because change is permanent, it calls for revolutionaries to always be prepared to learn – learning from concrete conditions and learning form others to sharpen the cause of the revolution. Cde Tolomane was one cadre who has a solid mind and clear understanding of things. However, he was also willing to learn, learn and learn as if he was going to live forever.
- Self-Development: A cadre of the movement must always self-develop politically, ideologically and academically. Cde Tolomane was an embodiment of this self-development for he always understood that the imperatives of transformation do not allow stagnation of the mind.
Cde Tolomane never got excited for positions but always regarded such positions as assignment to serve the movement and the people. He was never elected or deployed to any position simply because he fought hard for it, but was elected and deployed because he was considered the best for that position.
He never deserted the movement because of not being elected into a position. It’s factual that at some point he was not elected into the leadership of the ANC in Lower South Coast Region; however he never took that as the condemnation but continued to serve the movement as a member. It was the very same comrades who did not elected him who later call on him to come back and lead them as the Regional Chairperson. That is how special Cde Tolomane was.
I say this as an account that even if you feel you are correct and what is being done by the movement is wrong to you but never deserts the ANC. If it happens that you are correct somewhere in the distant horizon the ANC will call for your service.
In his honour we must intensify the revolution by striving for the following:
- Fight for economic freedom: Twenty Two years into democracy, the majority of the historically disadvantaged people still find themselves in the periphery of economic participation and benefits. The real ownership and control of the economy is still hands of the few historically advantaged White males. We must unashamedly use the political power we have to wrestle and win over the economic power for the benefit of all the people. As taught by Amilcar Cabral, we must “always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for idea (politics) or for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, and to guarantee the future of their children.” In short people are fighting for economic freedom.
- Building a strong movement: For the past 104 years, the ANC has been that strong revolutionary movement that has always carried the hopes and aspiration of the people. In this process of transformation, we need to build a strong and united ANC that will continue to be the beacon of hope for the people.
- Selflessly serving the people: Our Councillors and all public representatives must at all material times dedicate themselves to serving the people. Positions of deployment are never meant for self-enrichment. There should be no person who is left unattended or not serviced.
- Fight tendencies that are creeping into the movement: We must collectively wage a relentless fight against the negative tendencies that continue to afflict and threaten the relevancy and existence of our movement. Our membership to the movement must be informed by the desire to serve the movement and fight against all that is wrong in the people’s movement.
To you Cde Tolomane, as we commit you to your final resting place, we say fare you well Cde Tolomane. You came to this earth and left indelible mark. As you exit to the next world of eternal living, find peace in knowing that you will continue to be a guiding light for us and we shall strive never to betray your memory and legacy.
Farewell Dlangamandla, you name will endure forever!!!