ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule delivered a tribute at Mma Agnes Msimang’s funeral service held in Johannesburg.
On behalf of the leadership of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, we take the opportunity of this rare moment, to convey our sincere heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and relatives. We take the opportunity to convey our sincere condolences to the people of our country, our continent and the whole world.
Today death has congregated us on the occasion of the funeral service of one of the greatest daughters of our soil, Mma Agnes Msimang. What it does not know, is that it is not its destiny which determines the future of humanity, but the heroism and fearlessness, of countless heroes and heroines of our struggle for liberation.
Death has robbed us one of the greatest volunteers of struggles of our people. It has robbed us one of the most beautiful flowers of our national democratic revolution.
We are gathered here to accompany the mortal remains of one of the greatest pioneers of the generation of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Walter Sisulu to its final resting place. We are here to accompany to its final resting place a titanic leader of the struggle of our people and true soldier of the Luthuli Detachment.
We are gathered here to accompany to its final resting place the mortal remains of our mother, our leader and our comrade n arms, one of those who volunteered their entire lives for the freedom and dignity of our people.
As we are gathered here today, ours is only a profound message to express our gratitude, for her sterling contribution, to the cause of the struggle of our people. She has indeed run her race well.
An Ancient Indian poem looks to this day, for it is life, the very life of life. In its brief lie all the verities and realities of your existence, the bliss of growth, the glory of action and the splendour of beauty.
For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision, but today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope and therefore look well to this day. This is the day we will mark as a day we bid farewell to a giant.
Mma Agnes Msimang left our country into exile with two children under the age of 10 and a little baby in her warm hands. Like a bird in the sky, she crossed the oceans when the weather turned adverse, and when the going got rough, she got going across the borders, but with little depth and grounding, in pursuit of our struggle for freedom and dignity.
It is true indeed that that hardships, sufferings or tribulations build a revolutionary character, it is true that personality greatly depends on how you respond to sufferings or hardships, it greatly depends on how you interpret life situations. It is true that your character shows how you deal with situations.
Who you are, depends on the way you respond to what happens to you, revolutionaries never face challenges that surpasses who they are, and they are tailored for everything they go through. That is what brings the best in them.
What they go through, helps them realize their temperament, gift and talents, and also steers them towards a purpose. A revolutionary needs hardship to reveal her abilities and true character to transform it into the desired purpose.
Their strength and splendour are like gold which is purified by fire and is proven in the hardships they go through. When storms come, the greatest about them is the wisdom hidden in them.
When we say we are standing on the shoulder of the giants of our struggle for liberation, we are referring to profound characters like Mma Msimang. To her, we owe her immeasurable contribution, towards our struggle for the liberation of the people of our country.
No one gave her the power, she simply took the power of her own heart and integrity, to join our liberation movement, and influence others with its mission and courage. She was amongst the first contingent of the pioneers of our movement, to lead the ANC into its exile mission.
Many of the icons of the century such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela, favoured and captured our hearts because they have been teachers of love and forgiveness. Indeed Mma Msimang was the Mother Theresa of the ANC.
She was a queen with a voice of an Angel. A mother with a Comradely heart aflutter across the movement.
She was a mother of all the orphans in the ANC and the country. She took care of many of the young people of our country through the dark days of our years in exile and therefore carrying the aspirations and wishes of many of the young people of our country.
Mama Agnes Msimang and many other stalwarts and freedom fighters are a reminder of the true values and traditions on which our movement and our democratic South Africa, are founded. This includes amongst others our unwavering commitment towards the unity and cohesion of our movement and the people.
Apart from all these distinctive positions of service, as the testimonies today and at her memorial service show, she was a mother to many. She played a critical role in the Masupatsela a Walter Sisulu, gave support to the students of the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College (SAMAFCO) in Tanzania, and after the unbanning of the ANC, continued to look after the orphans and children of former MK and ANC combatants.
She was an erstwhile Diplomat, an internationalist whose contribution saw the ANC opening over 27 embassies in the capital cities of all the capitalist countries. She was indeed a true Ambassador of the struggle of our people
Mam Msimang became an institution at the ANC headquarters, dealing with issues of repatriation, and the welfare of former MK comrades of which she was passionate about. She also continued to play a role in the structures of the ANC, as well as that of the ANC Women’s League and Veterans League.
It was this life of service and struggle, which saw her being recognised through the National Order of Luthuli in Silver in 2014 and the OR Tambo Lifetime Achievement Ubuntu Award.
Mam Agnes Msimang, as she left us, joined the ranks of countless South African men and women, who distinguished themselves by their unwavering commitment to the freedom of their people. They include Ma Albertina Sisulu and Nelson Mandela, whom we both celebrate the centenary of their birthdays this year.
She joins the galaxy of heroic women of our struggle such as Lilian Ngoyi, Charlotte Maxeke, Ida Mntwana, Florence Maphosho, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Mandela, Ruth Mompati, Florence Matomela, Sarah Baartman, Kgoshigadi Madinoge, Dorothy Nyembe, and many of our unsung heroes and heroines of our struggle.
In her memory, we shall work together to ensure that there is unity and cohesion of our movement and our people. She understood well that unity is a precondition for the success of any revolution.
In her memory, we shall work together to ensure that we accelerate our programme for the radical socio-economic transformation. We shall make sure that we expropriate land without compensation and therefore making sure that the overwhelming majority of the people of our country become part of the ownership of our country.
In her memory, we shall make sure that we take the leadership of women in our struggle to the higher pedestal. We shall make sure that women become part and parcel of the decision making processes about the future of our country.
In her memory, we shall make sure that we eradicate the scourge of drugs and women abuse and make sure that perpetrators face the might of the law. In her memory, we shall ensure that we eradicate the daunting legacy of disease, poverty and underdevelopment.
In her memory, we shall make a call to all South Africans to register themselves for the forthcoming national general elections. There is no any other political formation in our country, with the required capacity, to lead transformation, except the African National Congress.
In the words of wisdom of one of the greatest African revolutionaries, Marcelino dos Santos during the funeral of the late President of the Republic of Mozambique Samora Machel, he says the following”
Your dreams are our dreams, your struggle is our struggle. Now the most difficult moments for all has come, the moment of a final farewell.
But we are only delivering your body to the earth, you remain with us but we shall never say farewell to you. The people cannot say farewell to its own history.
Today we repeat ourselves to you as we say”
Your dreams are our dreams, your struggle is our struggle. Now the most difficult moments for all has come, the moment of final farewell.
But we are only delivering your body to the earth, you remain with us but we shall never say farewell to you. The people cannot farewell to its own history”
Again on behalf of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, we convey our condolences to the family, friends and relatives. May her soul Rest In Peace.