Guest Column

OPINION: RIP, Bavelile Hlongwa. You leave behind thousands of memories of things you did for others

2019-09-22 07:00
Bavelile Hlongwa. (Twitter, Gauteng ANC)

Bavelile Hlongwa. (Twitter, Gauteng ANC)

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You were a true pioneer of a battle to deracialise our economy, a fierce opponent of the domination of our economy at the expense of the landless, poor, African people who live as refugees in the country of their birth, writes Lesego Makhubela.

A light from our household is gone, a voice we loved is stilled, a place is vacant in our hearts that never can be filled. Today, there is a place vacant in our hearts, for the yearning of the voice of our comrade and sister – Bavelile Hlongwa – has been stilled. We mourn her passing; we honour her life.

Allow me my dear sister and comrade to give a recollection of my little interaction with you and the indelible impression you made on my being.

I have pondered as to what it is that made you so outstanding. Was it your charming personality? Was it your exceptional intellectual capacity? Was it your deep sense of humour? Was it the way you treated other people? I have come to a realisation that it was all of these, but much more. It was in large measure your sensitivity to the Spirit of the Lord and your love for your fellow men, with which you were so richly endowed.

I have also discovered that this sensitivity came abundantly through your genes and DNA and from your political school, the congress youth movement as well as your special ancestral heritage of faith and sacrifice.

You were a rising star that illuminated us during the bleak and dark period that characterised the congress youth movement. You rose the highest when God recalled you back home to join throngs of heroes and heroines who continue to parade our country and  those that would not at the face of instant gratification betray their conscience, suppress their true feelings and principles for blue lights and act opposite to the convictions of their hearts.

You were a spiritual warrior, though you were short in frame you were a spiritual giant that through action and conduct became a living testimony that indeed the tallest man or woman is the one who is on his or her knees in supplication to God.

You carried with yourself a righteous spirit that created an ambience of robust engagement, where you allowed those that held views contrary to yours an opportunity to convince you through superior logic, it was this rare attribute that made you repulsive to political vomit devoid of politics.

You were a woman of substance and all seasons, a spiritual giant, abounding in knowledge, faith, love, vision, testimony, courage, and compassion – leading and serving never from a pedestal, but always eye to eye. You had a special place in your heart for the poor, the needy and the afflicted.

I cannot remember what I have ever done for you, but I have thousands of memories of what you did for me and others who knocked on your door. You had a very strong back and shoulders because on it rested the needy, the poor and the afflicted. On your back you carried many of us including children that were not your own, whilst denying yourself the luxuries of life.

We will miss your voice, your steadiness, your confidence in the Lord and in your organisation, your smile, your wit, your enthusiasm, your optimism, and your stories, which I consider parables of a modern gender activist and an economic transformation pioneer.

You were an unapologetic convict of resolutions of your organisation, the congress youth league and that of its mother body. In life you chained yourself to our generational mission no matter how unpopular and impossible our mission is. Never even once after your appointment as a deputy minister did you stand at the altar of convenience to denounce our generational mission and resolutions of the ANC and most profoundly you were never seen to backslide or flip flop on the 2011 ANC Youth League Gallagher Estate Congress resolutions which set us on the path, trajectory and a course of “radical socio-economic transformation”. You were part of a handful few who never allowed selective amnesia to reduce our generational mission as a factional mantra.

You were a true pioneer of a battle to deracialise our economy, a fierce opponent of the domination of our economy by white people at the expense of the landless, poor, African people who live as refugees in the country of their birth. BV, you waged a protracted struggle that denied you the best years of your life and a bitter battle that cowards have abandoned because it has proven to be career limiting. We have no other way to remember you but as a courageous young woman whose heart knew no fear.

- Lesego Makhubela ANCYL Tshwane regional chairperson.

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