Sobukwe continues to amaze contemporaries

2017-12-07 06:00

5 December is a very special day in the hearts of many South Africans who are following the political and historical discourse.

This is the day when a man who became PAC’s founding president-Robert Sobukwe- was born.

This is also the same day that former President Nelson Mandela passed on.

It is hardly a day to forget. This also happens during the government’s effort to address violence against women and children, through the now well-known 16 Days of Activism. We must also not forget the victims of HIV/Aids, the infected and affected.

93 years ago, a founding Secretary-General of the Congress Youth League(CYL) was born. CYL came to be known as a Youth League of the ANC, its sole responsibility was to militarize the young people. CYL was born in the highly reputable University of Fort Hare where Robert Sobukwe was also the SRC President in 1949.

Thomas Sankara opined “While revolutionaries are being killed, ideas will never die”. Steve Biko is also reputed for having said “its better to live for an ideal that will live forever than live for an ideal that would die”.

These two quotes from Biko and Sankara summarize the life and the times of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, who was also known to his comrade as “Prof”.

“Prof” is an amazing struggle icon who never ceased to amaze even the people he was acquainted to.

We are talking here about a man who surrendered his comfort with a commitment to the struggle for emancipation.

Robert Sobukwe was a senior staff member at the predominantly White University of the Witwatersrand.

He was also once a teacher in Standerton. In short, he was an academic who sacrificed comfort for his people.

“Prof” was not like our current leaders who often use radical or revolutionary antics in order to woe the masses for intensifying electoral performance.

We wish to have leaders like Sobukwe who identified and related with their fellow Africans as well as Africanists. He stayed in Mofolo, Soweto where most African masses resided. Though he could afford to buy a car, he preferred to travel by public transport especially 3rd Class trains.

Many people who were imprisoned between 1960 - 69 often had a bittersweet feeling of being away from families but many were looking forward to meet or see Robert Sobukwe, whom Steve Biko referred to as a “political God” when they met in the early 1970s in Kimberley’s Galeshewe.

We are happy to see the life and the times of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe being celebrated and remembered not only by his party.

We applaud everyone who always ensure that the legacy of this great man lives on and on and on. We thank journalists who always pay tributes via columns or quotations, we thank institutions such as University of South Africa, Wits, Fort Hare, Robert Sobukwe Foundation and all who are playing their role to ensure that communities are taught the real history.

Izwe Lethu!

Kenneth Mokgatlhe Jozi

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