MK comrade home

2015-07-29 06:00
UMKHONTO WE SIZWE (MK) members carrying the remains of their fellow comrade, Leonard Tebogo Tume, surrounded by members of the family.
Boipelo Mere

UMKHONTO WE SIZWE (MK) members carrying the remains of their fellow comrade, Leonard Tebogo Tume, surrounded by members of the family. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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THE arrival of the remains of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) member Leonard Tebogo Tume at his home in Galeshewe proved to be the end of the search for his family, looking for answers regarding the whereabouts of their son.

According to the Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Tebogo went into exile in November 1976 and joined the ANC where he underwent military training as an MK member.

In 1980 he entered the country to operate underground, but was shot and killed in a skirmish with the apartheid police on 13 June 1980.

Although the family has found closure, it is a pity that the wish of Tebogo’s mother, Dipuo Tume, could not be granted before her death in 2007 at the age of 70.

According to the family who welcomed the remains just before midnight on Friday (24/07), they never gave up hope on following up on information, at least until it was confirmed that he had died.

The arrival of the Police’s Special Forces at their doorstep in 1980 in order for them to identify a body that had been mistaken for Tebogo had left them confused.

It also gave them hope that he could still be alive.

According to Eric Tume, the cousin of Tebogo, it only became clear in 1996 after his grandmother had been bestowed a medal in commemoration of Tebogo’s bravery, that his cousin had indeed died.

Eric said a fellow comrade, Solly Shoke, came forth and confirmed the death.

“At the time his mother was still alive and she was always concerned by the delay in returning the remains of her son home. She always used to say that she would die a peaceful death if she could witness the remains of her son being brought home,” said Eric.

“Our grandmother also passed away before witnessing the returns of her grandson’s remains.”

Eric said the family had great challenges in finding Tebogo’s grave.

His remains were traced to a pauper’s grave in the Avalon Cemetery in Soweto on 13 March.

“The only person who could shed some light on this was Shoke, because he had an idea of the dates of the occurrences. We managed to trace the grave through the cemetery book, because all the police files had been destroyed.

“Then followed the analysis process that was done in ­Argentina. That was also delayed due to the fact that two bodies had been found in the same grave.”

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