Respect foreigners, Zuma tells SA

2009-12-12 12:47

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has asked South Africans to be tolerant

towards foreign nationals.

Addressing mourners at the funeral of anti-apartheid struggle

veteran Curtis Nkondo, Zuma said many people could have become xenophobic during

the period spent in exile by many involved in the anti-apartheid struggle, but

never did.

“We must love our neighbours. They didn’t see enemies in us,” he


Nkondo (82), a founder member and the first vice -president of the

SA Democratic Teachers Union and the United Democratic Front (UDF), died last

week at the Bedford Life Gardens Clinic after a long illness.

He was the UDF’s Transvaal vice-president.

Zuma said Nkondo was asked by late ANC president Oliver Tambo not

to abandon the country but continue the pursuit for education.

The struggle icon, fondly known as “Com Curt” (short for Comrade

Curtis), also served as a member of the Gauteng legislature and was the head of

the South African Diplomatic Mission in Namibia at the time of his death.

Nkondo’s funeral service was held at the St Charles Catholic Church

in Victory Park, Johannesburg.

Among the mourners were Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Gauteng

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, National

Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu and former

cabinet minister Sydney Mufamadi.

Mokonyane challenged South Africans to preserve Nkondo’s


“We need agents of change like Com Curt,” she said.

Earlier, Zuma led an emotional tribute to Nkondo.

He sang the struggle era hymn: “Thina sizwe esimnyama,

sikhalel’izwe lethu elathathwa ngabamhlophe (We, the black nation, cry out for

our land taken by whites)”.

Zuma expressed concern about the death of struggle veterans who

leave behind little or nothing in written form.

“We’re worried that these distinguished patriots, who are

reservoirs of knowledge, leave us with no written legacy and no lessons for our

youth,” he said.

Nkondo was detained during the mid-1980s state of emergency and was

the principal at Lamula High School in Meadowlands, Soweto.

He also taught at

Orlando and Pimville High Schools.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Rose, children Reavell,

Ruskin and Ephraim, brothers Muxe and Eric, sisters Gladys and Dinah.

His only daughter, Victoria, died in a car accident in Harare in


Nkondo was buried at Westpark Cemetery.

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