Reginald September was a hero among heroes – Zuma

2013-11-30 16:12

The death of ANC stalwart Reginald September has robbed the country of a fearless freedom fighter, President Jacob Zuma said at his funeral.

“He was a loyal, dedicated and humble servant of the liberation struggle,” Zuma said today at the service held at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens.

“We say death be not proud, for within us, the spirit of comrade Reggie September will live forever.” September, a trade unionist, died last week at the age of 90. He was one of the first non-African people to be elected to the ANC’s national executive committee. He also served as a member of parliament.

Zuma said the nation was poorer because of September’s death but he had served the nation well.

“As we lay him to rest, we proclaim proudly that he was one of us,” said Zuma.

“Hamba kahle qhawe lama qhawe [Farewell, hero among the heroes],” said Zuma.

He ended off his eulogy by singing a struggle song.

Among the delegates at September’s funeral was former president Thabo Mbeki, Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau, several cabinet ministers, members of government, and members of the ANC Women’s League.

September is survived by his wife Melissa Steyn, his four children, twelve grandchildren and eight great- grandchildren.

Delivering a tribute to her husband by video, Steyn said she and September used to have meaningful conversations.

“I benefited from his wisdom.”

She said her husband understood the pain of oppression and never left it to someone else to fight.

“He knew that no one was free unless everyone was free,” said Steyn.

September’s son, Mark, said his father was a loving and compassionate man.

“That compassion and love didn’t just stretch to his family but to everyone,” he said.

“He was deeply, deeply hurt by oppression.”

Legendary jazz musician Jonas Gwangwa and the police brass band provided musical items during the service while Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane directed the programme.

The song Ntjilo Ntjilo by Miriam Makeba was played as photographs of September were displayed on a screen.

He was to be buried at West Park Cemetery.

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