Commentary: Come back home, Mosiuoa Lekota

2009-04-13 00:00

Dear Ntate Lekota,

I am an ardent reader and collector of political biographies and autobiographies. Your book, titled Prison Letters To A Daughter, is on my desk as I write this open letter to you, Ntate.

Your book to your late beloved daughter, Masetjhaba, fondly referred to as Tjhabi, is also directed to the youth of this country, Africa and the diaspora, and was meant to keep us well versed in the political dynamics and the history of liberation of this beloved country. It is my considered opinion that this book has an embedded richness of political consciousness apt for all who unreservedly appreciate the gallantry of all those men and women who refused to kneel when death stared at their eyes.

With brutal frankness, this book reflects outright your deep commitment to the struggle against apartheid. At the same time, there is glaring depiction of your unreserved and unconditional love you have for the ANC, which you fondly and consistently refer to in the book as Congress.

In every letter you have written to Tjhabi and all of her generation, your deepest testimony of your affection to the Congress is felt. You wrote about the growing pains of the organisation. On page 81, you wrote, “Congress was growing too, but at a painfully slow pace. An organisation, like a child, takes long to mature, sometimes it gets sick and must be nursed back to full health.

Fortunately, though, Congress was endowed with talented and devoted members, who carefully tended its life and shaped it into the irresistible force it is daily becoming in the political affairs of our country. Long live the spirit of our people.”

These words that poured from your heart indeed persuade me to conclude that Congress runs in your veins. Ntate, it is unavoidable like the air we breathe that even your beloved members of your family have a deep rooted love for the Congress. With humility, I beseech you to come home to your only Congress (Kgutlela hae Ntate ka boikokobetso).

Ntate, the Congress is still endowed with talented and devoted members as you told us over three decades ago. I, the generation of your late precious Tjhabi, who was 13 days older than myself, are in a fix. I have the scroll that has all the names of the leaders who are dear and close to my heart. This scroll is extremely important to me and the generations to follow because we all have to pass it on to the ones to come. Ntate, I cannot relegate your name to the bin of those who betrayed the Congress or who left it without tangible reasons. I will not do such a thing. Not even in the wilderness of monkeys Ntate. You are Congress and you will forever remain a cadre of the ANC.

Each time I see you at the Oliver Reginald Tambo Airport, I look away or hide because I cannot come to grips with your decision of having taken a leave of absence from the Congress. I cannot also come to terms with the vile thought of seeing you vote for any other party other than the Congress you have always religiously voted for. Just imagine Ntate, what Moses Kotane, OR, Tjhabi and many will say!

This open letter to you is a plea from a generation of Tjhabi, made to you with the utmost humility. It is nothing but a manifestation of the undying love we know runs in your veins for Congress. Your return from a leave of absence to the ANC you fondly refer to as Congress is awaited with animation. Come back home Ntate.

Much love, respect and best wishes.

Congressly yours

Smanga Sethene

Pietermaritzburg and Centurion

Smanga Sethene is an independent communication strategist and a member of the ANC.

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