President Zuma, where is Albert Nzula?

2015-03-09 05:45

On the 1st of March South Africa came to a complete halt in welcoming the remains of our struggle heroes Moses Kotane and ntate JB Marks. We all stood to honour these two icons that left this country to assist in waging a relentless war against racial oppression in our land. Although they never got back to see the fruits of the freedom they fought for, their remains came back to rest in a democratic country they both had envisaged.  During this ceremony, President Zuma touched and elaborated on what this milestone means in looking back and into the future of this country. He said this repatriation ‘enables us to celebrate their contribution and raises awareness amongst our people, especially the youth, of what these two great men did for this country’

This is true; the role that these two political towers played in shaping our political landscape cannot be overemphasized. Amongst others, they shaped the ANC and SACP’s internationalism stance. They also further entrenched an anti-capitalist view that the majority of our people held.

JB Marks served in both the ANC and the SACP. Having been the Chairman of the SACP in 1962, he played an active role in resistance politics of South Africa, this is amid his banning order from politics. Moses Kotane on the other hand was the General Secretary of the SACP from 1939 until his death in 1978. Both died in Moscow, with Kotane dying 8 years after Marks. Indeed their repatriation was a memorable event in our country. It closed a certain sad chapter in their respective families and also opened another good one for generations to come.

We acknowledge these great efforts by our government to reconcile us with our heroes. Having done so, I still remain concerned in this Russian repatriation mission. The intention is as clear as day yet the approach leave a lot to be desired if not a mystery in totality. This is because there is a clear and noticeable fundamental omission in this process. There is an outstanding figure, a figure that is head and shoulders above all figures that ever went to Russia and this figure was never made part of this mission. President Zuma went to Russia to repatriate bodies of members of the SACP in Moscow but left behind the first black General Secretary of the same SACP (the CPSA). He left behind the first African to go to Russia to be a scholar of communism. President Jacob Zuma left behind the body of Albert Nzula.

It makes no historical, political and economic sense to repatriate two bodies in Moscow and leave out a prominent figure behind. Albert Nzula is a political giant whose contribution to the African view of Marxism and Arikanism in general cannot be ignored.  He advocated for education of our people, led   the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union (ICU) and then the SACP later on before moving to Russia where he died at the age of 29. Although there were controversies behind his ideological stance, he remains a figure we must be proud of.  We therefore want to know why his body was left behind. His family and relatives are still living in his place of birth in Rouxville, a small town in the Free State.

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