Ode to couple with golden touch

2018-05-03 06:01
Simanye Group of performers entertained guests during the farewell.     PHOTO: TARZAN MBITA

Simanye Group of performers entertained guests during the farewell. PHOTO: TARZAN MBITA

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Manditsho ndithi kumnandi ukuba lapha. It’s nice to be here. I am saying this because this is a celebration and a farewell to an outstanding individual and his wife, our dearest Zethu Xapile and Dr Reverend Spiwo Xapile.

A people who are a manifestation of what it means to be a total human being.

Being a son and daughter to their respective parents. A dear husband and wife to each other. Parents to their children. Adored partners to the congregation. Individuals who have achieved much in their chosen fields.

They have been mentors to many people in vast communities.

Social activist who dared to face challenges in the quest to uplift the lot of the disadvantaged.

Intetho yesiXhosa ithi: Inqwelo ilandelwa luthuli lwayo. Imisebenzi emihle yenu zicaka zeNkosi ayibhalwanga nje ezintliziyweni zethu, kodwa ukuba singqine nathi kwabo bafuna ukuthi “ethe iminwe yam emanxebeni”. Misebenzi engena kukhanyeleka leyo.

What excites me too about this day is that as Reverend Xapile turns 60 years of age, he has matured like good wine, like Gugulethu, which also celebrates its diamond jubilee in 2018.

Gugulethu is a community that is a product of forced removals. A community which the apartheid regime had thought it was forcing into the periphery, further inflicting pain to the indigenous people of this country.

I am a product of this Gugulethu, born and bred here. I have been part of this community’s struggles. I know how this church looked like in the past, which you then tirelessly transformed into a mansion to serve the people of Gugulethu and surrounds.

Le Cawe was just a shack, ityotyombe in the past. However, comrades used it to eefect; holding Struggle meetings here, at a time when it was not fashionable for churches to open their doors. Abantu nabefundisi babesoyika amabhulu.

It is from this church that we buried many of our a fallen comrades. During those funerals this church would be surrounded by the riot police throughout the service until we left for the graveyard in NY5.

I vividly remember that on December 24, 1985 during the violence in KTC, a fallen comrade’s funeral service was led from this church by the late Reverend Marawu.

It was tough and ended with the bloody death of one of the “Blou doeks” collaborators. One called Sqhaza.

The Struggles of the people of Gugulethu have nothing to do with the celebration of apartheid, but for their resilience against a system which was intent on stripping them of their dignity.

This year, we are celebrating victory over an inhumane system. Happy Birthday to you sir, having been born at a time when the apartheid system was at its most vicious. I am sure your also have anecdotes to tell about apartheid.

You are testimony to victory against all odds. A social activist who truly showed that human beings can make a difference without waiting for government hand-outs.

If all our people could be given a chance to speak, they each can tell stories of how you two gave hope to people affected and infected by HIV/Aids. I am happy too that lo msitho wenzeka ngemini ebalulekileyo kwi khalenda yoMzantsi Afrika: 27 April 1994, when, for the first time, people voted for a government of their choice.

The leadership of any society is a collective responsibility; politicians, business, religious community and others form part of that leadership.

You have stayed true to the Mandela doctrine, which I love so much: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.”

Mfundisi nina nenkosikazi aningabo omnye wababantu xa kubaliswa ngobomi babo kuthiwe: wazalwa, watya, wahlutha, wabhubha.

Your deeds in this community remind me of Ukranian revolutionary, Nikolai Ostrovsky: “Man’s dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; He might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world in the fight for the Liberation of Mankind”

Hamba ke Tshezi uyokusasaza lombewu yobumvuze-mvuze bakho apho uyakhona kuchume. Ndiqinisekile bayakuncanca kwelobele lakho lide kuphuchuke isizwe.

Thina ubashiya apha eGugulethu can assure you ukuba siyakuhlala siliqaqambisa igama lakho nemisebenzi yakho emihle. Sikubala njengelinye lamagorha awenzileyo umahluko ekuphuculeni iGugulethu.

Siyabulela Mlungwana, nyana ka maTshezi, nakuwe ntombi ka Mseleku. We are proud of you, Sir. Nangamso.

. This is an edited version of a speech delivered by Deputy Minister Skwatsha, Department of Rural Affairs and Land Reform, at a farewell for Dr Xapile and his wife Zethu.

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