You were not born for death my dear husband, Sisulu says in farewell message

2017-01-07 22:23
The funeral leaflet for Professor Rok Ajulu (Mpho Raborife, News24)

The funeral leaflet for Professor Rok Ajulu (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Pretoria - Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu wrote a touching letter to her husband Professor Rok Ajulu which was read out during his funeral service on Saturday.

In the letter, Sisulu spoke of the moment she was told by the doctor that her husband would not make it and she was urged to contact the children and prepare them for the news.

“You worried about how the children would turn out without you, they turned out as only you could have made them, amazingly strong and resilient, determined and focused. You would be so proud at how the entire family rose to the challenge,” she said.

“On the day of your passing, the doctor… informed us that you’d begun your journey out of this world and I called the children home, and even as I broke the news to them it was clear subconsciously they knew what I had to tell them.

“It was the most devastating half hour of unbearable silence, you left the world as we were sitting to absorb all of this. We were summoned to the hospital sooner than we had imagined, our lives changed irreversibly.”

Sisulu surrounded by children

Sisulu’s message was being read by her youngest son Olindi, who choked up on stage while reading.

Sisulu, dressed in all black, sat quietly in the front row of the ZK Mathews hall at Unisa in Pretoria looking at her son as he spoke. She was surrounded by her children, her elder brother Max, her grandchildren and the rest of the Ajulu family.

Kenyan-born academic died on December 26 at a hospital in Pretoria following a long-term battle with pancreatic cancer. He had spent his most of his career as a political activist, political lecturer, a writer and an analyst.

He had taught at various universities including Leeds, Rhodes, Wits as well as the National University of Lesotho.

Sisulu said the generous amounts of tributes her family received following his death brought with it “a painful truth” to their loss.

“You were not born for death my dear husband, you were life itself and you had the capacity to live it to the fullest, defying every convention,” she said.

“We held onto hope for you and it saw us through the most gruelling ravages of cancer. We still cannot fathom how a fit, health fanatic like yourself could be utterly devastated so quickly.”

Sponsoring a political science scholar

Sisulu said she and the couple’s five children had resolved to sponsor a political science scholar who wanted to study at any university in the country, so that his passions and ideals could live on.

“We will sponsor a political science student at any of our universities who has the passion for struggle, who has a passion for justice, inequality, transformation so that through them we may continue to seed your agitated revolutionary spirit.

“Our society needs to be seized with your passion until we achieve our hard won dream of a true liberated and transformed society.”

She said the reason Ajulu had named their eldest son Che was because Ajulu himself had always yearned to be “the Guevara of Africa”.

“You dreamt you would spread the revolution across the length and breadth of the continent. Your life has been savagely cut short to the ideals, but your struggle will live on, your teachings will be passed on.”

She thanked him for raising their children and assured him that they would achieve what he wanted for them.

“And me, I try to remember in particular our time while you were on earth. Suddenly everything made sense; we were a perfect complement to each other.

“I cannot count the things for which I am grateful for your love and support. We will in time be okay, go well, I love you,” she said.

The 66-year-old is survived by his wife, five children and five grandchildren.

Read more on:    anc  |  lindiwe sisulu

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