Director of the Programme;
The Nkadimeng and Moeketsi families;
The Children, grandchildren and the great grandchildren;
The Leadership of the ANC and the ANCWL;
The Leaders of the Alliance Partners;
The Veterans of our struggle for liberation;
Comrades and friends:
It was with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we learnt of the passing of Mane Dipakeng Evelyn Nkadimeng on Monday morning of this week. Our heartfelt condolences go to the children; grandchildren; great grandchildren; their relatives and loved ones.
Nothing prepares anyone for the loss of a parent. Even though we may not quite fully understand the pain of your loss, we ask you to take solace in the knowledge that we too share your grief and are here to condole with you.
Last month, we bade farewell to Isithwalandwe Seaparankwe: Comrade John Kgoana Nkadimeng – Tau!
Here we are today, with the pain of having lost Ntate Nkadimeng still fresh, gathered yet again to pay homage to Mme Nkadimeng.
With so much pain and grief around us, and even as we mourn and honour these stalwarts, we are inspired to forge ahead with their struggle, drawing lessons from their exemplary lives ― lives worthy of emulation.
Mme Nkadimeng was an integral part of the most courageous generation of women who occupied the forward trenches as the spearhead against the brutal system of apartheid. They risked their lives in order to give birth to this democracy that we seem not to value as a precious achievement.
The late National Commissar, General Andrew Masondo used to say: the ANC is not an organization, and when asked what he meant, he would simply respond as follows; “it is something else!” The ANC waged the struggle in many forms and fronts. Hence the courageous generation of women such as Mane Nkadimeng were in the front lines and forward trenches of the struggle for liberation.
From the time when she married Ntate Nkadimeng in 1958, in them numbers were killed. They being two became one. They became inseparable.
The countless times in which Comrade John Nkadimeng was detained, facing treason charges and ultimately convicted and incarcerated represented waiting.
Waiting for a baby to be born; waiting for that dreadful knock at the door from the special branch of the police; waiting to be charged; waiting to be released from prison; waiting to be re-united as family and comrades; waiting patiently for progress in the struggle; waiting for liberation; waiting for the dawn of democracy and waiting for the fruits of freedom to reach the common people.
Revolutionaries know how to wait; they know how to be patient; they never despair. Reactionaries, opportunists, traitors, hypocrites and rent seekers on the other hand, live in perpetual despair and are forever desperate for instant solutions. They live a lie.
This reminds me of how one comrade who worked with and was detained with Comrade John Mahwiri Phala, a colleague of Comrade John Nkadimeng in Sebatakgomo, suddenly reminded comrade Phala how he always believed in telling the truth. And he then proceeded to solemnly declare that he intended to tell the whole truth and everything he knew about Phala to their jailers. But truth is not static! What he planned to tell the interrogators was not the truth but treachery. He did not know how to wait.
No serious revolutionary ever needs to resort to a lie. Mme Nkadimeng, in her quiet way, taught us that there is no better tactic, no better strategy than to fight with clean hands, to fight with the truth. These are the only weapons that inspire faith, that inspire confidence, that inspire dignity and morale. The best weapon is reason, morality, truth, the ability to defend an idea, a proposal, a position.
The obituary informs us that Mme Nkadimeng lost her mother at a tender age of 6 years. We also know that having endured all the brutalities of apartheid she left South Africa in 1979 to, once again, re-unite with her husband who was exiled in Swaziland. We are aware that it was in Lusaka, Zambia where she, being in charge of the ANC’s early childhood centre (ECD) named after Dora Tamana, gave motherly love to all the children of the movement. Hence she was fondly called Mane by many who had experienced her loving care. Her heart was more precious than gold and fully justifies the profound affection with which we cherish her memory.
The Xhosa national poet laureate Mqhayi once addressed death candidly when he said:
“Kufa ifa! fi!”
Death, to you we dare say: die forever and never resurrect! You stole our brothers and Comrades Vernon and Christopher and our sister Norma.
You furtively stole our father and mother; and therefore we repeat:
“Death to you death!”
Ben Okri’s poem says:
“Be grateful for Freedom….
[…] Fear not, but be full of light and love;
Fear not, but be alert and receptive;
Fear not, but act decisively when you should;
Fear not, but know when to stop;
Fear not, for you are loved by me;
Fear not, for death is not the real terror;
But life magically is.”
Even as she was taking her last breath worn out by painful afflictions long endured Mane would say to us that we must be grateful for our freedom.
She would assure us of her unending love. She would put us at ease that death is not the real terror.
Once again condolences to Modise Nkadimeng, Naomi Veronica Sexwale, Reginald Nkadimeng, Kgadi Gloria Nkadimeng, Shirley Nkadimeng, Calvin Nkadimeng, their children and grandchildren.
Your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents left giant footprints in the sands of time. Their footprints should give you confidence to traverse the same space.
May Mane’s soul rest in eternal peace.