Obituary: MK Stalwart Mankehli Xaba

2011-06-22 00:00

A MEMBER of the Mkhonto weSizwe Veterans’ Association (MKVA), Mankehli Theodora Xaba, died of kidney failure in Middelburg Hospital, Mpumalanga, on Monday morning.

Xaba was the sister of ANC veteran Anton “Mfenendala” Xaba. Their family came from Sobantu.

Xaba was two months away from celebrating her 71st birthday.

Her granddaughter, Amanda Xaba, said she left Sobantu last week to visit her son Sibusiso, who lives in Middelburg, but she suffered kidney failure. They were told that she died there.

Amanda described her grandmother’s life as one of struggle until the end. “Even in her old age she was still part of the struggle as she was also a stalwart member of the ANC Women’s League.

“My grandmother sacrificed her son and daughter to the struggle when they left the country to join the ANC in exile because she believed in freedom.”

Xaba’s political interest was sparked by her brother, Mfenendala, who served time on Robben Island as a political prisoner, according to people who knew her well.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Social Development Dr Meshack Radebe, who yesterday visited the family, said Xaba was one of the people who were instrumental in shaping South Africa’s democracy.

“I would not be where I am today if it were not for people like her, because she fought for this country till she saw the dawn of a democratic state,” he said.

Radebe was accompanied by social workers to profile the Xaba family because none of the family members is employed. He said it is his department’s responsibility to ensure that it helps the family where it can.

“Struggle veterans like her are slowly leaving us, which teaches us to be strong and continue defending the principles of democracy that they believed in,” said Radebe.

He said the department will help the family with the funeral arrangements.

The ANC Moses Mabhida regional secretary, Super Zuma, said that as painful as it is to lose someone like Xaba, her life should be celebrated and she should be appreciated as a struggle stalwart who believed in freedom for all.

“She was a pillar of strength for us and she guided us when we needed advice about the Movement from an elderly person. We always knew we could count on her,” said Zuma.

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