15 June 2014

South Africa: Emotional Send Off for MaMbeki

Photo: Pedro Meyer/A Day in the Life of Africa
Epainette Nomaka Mbeki (file photo).

Struggle activist and community builder, Epainette Mbeki, was laid to rest on Saturday in a fitting funeral attended by thousands in Ngcingwane in the Eastern Cape.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the eulogy in which he described as her as belonging to the generation who knew only selfless sacrifice in the struggle to rid the country of apartheid and colonialism without seeking personal glory, praise or material gain.

"Hers was a generation ready to sacrifice whatever comfort they could have enjoyed sparing neither strength nor effort to bring about an end to what the world proclaimed to be a crime against humanity," said the Deputy President during the emotional service.

Mbeki, the mother of former President Thabo Mbeki, died at an East London hospital last Saturday at the aged of 98. She was afforded a special provincial official funeral.

Deputy President Ramaphosa told mourners that her generation understood too well the nexus between apartheid South Africa and other vested economic interests in certain capitals of the world that stood to benefit materially from the super-exploitation and oppression of the country's people.

"It is a generation that appreciated that unless South Africa is free, the continent of Africa would not be fully liberated. Accordingly, they comprehended the need to mobilise progressive humanity around the world behind the banner of the just struggle for peace, freedom and justice."

The Deputy President, who delivered the address on behalf of President Jacob Zuma, said South Africa will remain indebted to the selfless sacrifices that she and her generation made to the liberation people.

MaMbeki, according to Deputy President Ramaphosa, was an inspiration to generations past and her dedication to improving the lives of those around her was an inspiration to the generation of today.

"Let us harness our collective power and continue to make South Africa, our beloved continent Africa and the world even a better place for all who live in it.

"The sacrifices of MaMbeki and others have brought us this far, yet more still needs to be done. Our struggle to defeat the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment needs the spirit, tenacity and endurance of MaMbeki," said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

He was accompanied by Minister in the Presidency and Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on State Funerals, Jeff Radebe, as well as current and former Cabinet ministers.

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