Soldiers salute Madiba

2013-12-12 00:00

MKHONTO Wesizwe (MK) soldiers leopard-crawled and saluted their first commander-in-chief, Nelson Mandela, for the last time at the capture site in Howick.

Those at the site watched as the soldiers marched and sang struggle songs in honour of Mandela yesterday.

Some people were in tears as MK soldiers sang a version of Hamba kahle Mkhonto Wesizwe, thina bafana bomkhonto sizimisele ukubuyisana nawo lamabhunu, meaning: “Go well comrade, we MK soldiers are determined to reconcile with the whites”.

They said it was important to start educating the youth about the history of the struggle in South Africa before it was distorted by people who were not there during their era.

Former MK soldier Sibongile Mkhize said there were many unsung heroes whose contributions were just as important as Madiba’s and it would be a disservice not to mention them as having played a pivotal role in the revolution.

Moses Mabhida regional commander Jerry Vilakazi said he first met Madiba in 1992 in Lusaka when he was there to brief them that MK was to change from being a guerrilla force to a regular defence armed wing because the enemy was prepared to negotiate.

“We were disciplined revolutionary cadres who had to obey the order to put down arms and we did so,” he said.

Vilakazi said as MK they felt betrayed by Madiba because at the time the apartheid state was still killing their people using state resources.

uMgungundlovu District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee said: “At the assassination of Chris Hani, chief commander of MK Mandela could have asked MK to go on with the war, but his words were ‘comrades, we must negotiate’, and MK listened.”

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