News24

Bring MK soldiers' remains home – Zuma

2010-08-24 07:05

Ngilanyoni – President Jacob Zuma said he wanted the remains of thousands of former Umkhonto weSizwe soldiers who died in exile exhumed and brought back to South Africa.

“I believe that it is important for us to make sure that we bring them back so that they can be reburied near their families,” said Zuma.

He was speaking during the reburial of former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) soldier, Jerry Khuzwayo in Ngilanyoni sixty kilometres from Pietermaritzburg on Saturday morning.

Khuzwayo, a former soldier of the ANC's military wing, MK, died in exile in Angola in 1988 from a gunshot wound.

Khuzwayo’s remains were brought from Angola to South Africa on Friday afternoon.

Foundation to collect funds

Zuma said his foundation would collect funds which would be used for bringing back the remains of thousands of former MK soldiers from different countries.

Many MK soldiers went to different countries for training after the apartheid government banned the ANC.

Zuma said South African history would not be complete if the remains of all MK soldiers were not brought back.

“I expect former MK soldiers who are now businessmen to contribute to the foundation so that my dream of bringing back our heroes can be successful,” said Zuma.

The remains of former SACP general secretary Moses Kotane would also be brought back, Zuma said. Kotane was the SACP secretary from 1939 until his death in 1978 in Russia.

Monuments

Zuma said it was important that families who could not afford the costs were assisted to bring back the remains of relatives.

“We have to it without getting money from government,” said Zuma.

Speaking ahead of Zuma, KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize said people should not expect that all people who died in exile would be brought back because there were “monuments” in countries were they had died.

But Zuma said countries should understand that it was important for the remains to be brought back home.

Khuzwayo’s reburial was attended by scores of ANC leaders including State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and ANC national executive member Billy Masetlha.

Buried near his home

Khuzwayo's remains were carried by former MK soldiers and the coffin was covered with the ANC colours. The funeral service was held inside the huge marquee just a stone's throw away from Khuzwayo's home.

His remains were also buried near his home.

Khuzwayo was born in 1962 and he left South Africa at the age of 13 with his family and they settled in Mozambique where he worked for the armed wing.

Zuma described Khuzwayo as gallant fighter and a servant of the people. Describing how he met Khuzwayo in Mozambique, Zuma said leaders tried to persuade Khuzwayo to further his studies and that he had told them that he wanted fight for liberation.

“When Khuzwayo and other young men arrived, they were taken to Oliver Tambo (former ANC president) because they were very young. He (Tambo) tried to persuade them to go to school but Khuzwayo said he wanted to fight.”