“Olu lwamvila alunantloko
Esi silonda asinakhokho
Eli nxeba alinangqibeko
Esi siziba asinangqameko”

– To the SG of SASCO Cde Buthanani Thobela and the entire 21st NEC of SASCO;
– The leadership of the African National Congress as led by Cde Zolile Williams;
– The leadership of the alliance: – the SACP; COSATU; SANCO.
– The leadership of the leagues of the ANC: – the ANC Women’s League; the ANC Veteran’s League; and the ANCYL.
– The Progressive Youth Alliance: – the YCLSA; COSAS; COSATU Young Workers Forum; YWD; the LGBQTI+ Community;
– The leadership of government and diplomatic corps from various countries, in particular the Peoples Republic of China (to whom Cde DP was very close to);
– The leadership of academic institutions;
– The leadership of business;
– The leadership of civil society;
– The faith and religious leaders,
– The traditional leaders (Iinkosi namaphakathi zelizwe lakowethu);
– Compatriots, comrades, and friends,
– The educated, unemployed, and poverty-stricken young people of South Afrika
– More particularly, the Matiwane family, I greet you all.

We are gathered here today in pains to pay our last respects to our brother, confidante, counsel, comrade, an intellectual reservoir of the mass democratic movement and a cadre par excellence. The sorrow and grief of the past two weeks will never be healed even by a team of million surgeons. The gallons of tears which we have cried since last Tuesday are double the size of the Atlantic and the Indian ocean combined, and the gale force winds of iGqeberha, as strong as they are, tire in an attempt to dry them up.

The passing of Comrade Buyile can never be measured using worldly yardsticks or scales. That is because he was not a man from this galaxy. He was a creature of heavenly origin.

* Provincial leadership of the YL in the Western Cape
* An internationalist , an innovator with fresh ideas.

“Olu lwamvila alunantloko
Esi silonda asinakhokho
Eli nxeba alinangqibeko
Esi siziba asinangqameko”

As we celebrate the life of Buyile Matiwane  one of the  inescapable truths was the high expectations of the student movement post our election as 21st NEC.

It was indeed a breakthrough. But for the student movement it represented a breaking point.

When we were elected, a silver lining adorned the dark clouds that hovered over the black child since  Nusas to Sansco and the present day Sasco.

The ray of hope swept all over the country. It was not to be. The transition from a very highly dived SASCO to unifying the organisation was thorny and steep. Presenting new and unique challenges caused by covid 19.

The terrain changed. The waters  unchartered. It was a moment which Sasco had to reorientate itself and carve a new approach to a new ways of operating . “From street fighting to engagements and order “.

With the new dawn of the democratic sun free higher education was to be in our lifetime. It was not to be. Sasco had to retreat,  revisiting its Strategic Perspective on Transformation.

*I came to know Buyile in the threnches of SASCO at CPUT where he was very active in SASCO activities as an SRC. The following years he was elected as the Sasco Provincial Chair. Buyile was instrumental in the processes that led to the report on Higher Education Fee free Higher Education when we led Fees must fall. DP was particularly active on themes related to production of knowledge and various modes of knowledge; as well as transformation of institutional culture. He was also active in the international work of SASCO, aligning SASCO in various countries like China, Russia, Cuban, Swaziland, Kenya and many other countries.

Buyile was a very fearless and articulate comrade and reader. His intellectual influences came from thinkers such as Antonio Gramsci and Karl Marx and many other socialist writers.

He later become involved in ANC and AnyL structures in Western Cape. . Buyile took great pride in giving opportunities to many up and coming young activists and offering educational opportunities to comrades. He remained heavily involved in community building activities.. He always expressed deep concern for what he saw as disintegration of the student movement and was also affected by the drift of the ANC, especially the growing incidents of  corruption.

He is someone who has been passionate with sharing opportunities with others and making a difference. His llatest, but incomplete project has been to fight for a space in renewable energy and SASCO legal Unity. The man was an extremely nice and personable character who loved a good debate and laughed a lot. He is one of those cadres who proved that it is possible to be a politician and not be corruptible. He had a high sense of ethics, which he lived. He was also a committed family man even though he didn’t have a child but he prioritised his family more than anything. On the other side he was anti spending money to girls.

The lesson to draw from his rich activist life is the critical importance of emancipatory struggles that are rooted in the community and international work, especially to end crime, corruption and violence as well as to promote empowerment of black youth and young politicians.

This man left few days before Mandela Day and this is what we want to say in which Buyile shared the same analysis:

• In South Africa rainbowism and non-racialism as entrenched in the Constitution  are an elusive mirage with the Black majority subjected to grave and heinous acts of racism on every inch of society.

• In the workplace, malls, streets, schools, financial institutions and every sector of society.

• When the 1994 democratic sun dawned Blacks saw a silver lining in the clouds with hopes of peace, friendship, reconciliation and a true non-racial society. It was not to be.

• Inequality and poverty are on the rise, grinding harshly with entrenched of racism. Blacks are still secondary citizens in their own country, and all over the world.

• South Africa can still be seen through a Black and White lenses.

In South Africa; disorder is the order of the day, as it did under animalism in George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, a story about the degeneration of the Russian Revolution under Stalin. Like the ‘animals’ in Animal Farm, whenever we look around in our republic, we see the differences between the leaders of the ‘revolution’ and the oppressors fading away while we, the animals, hold on to the dream of Animalism.

The symbol of this degeneration known to most are the leaders of ANC who are elders and all that appears to be the direct result of being part of the struggle during apartheid and knowing Mandela and Oliver Tambo.So magnified is the symbol that it doesn’t escape even the eye of my four-year old daughter who would tell her parents , “Tata,Mama ANC is corrupt”.

We argued that the ANC’s and South Africa’s problems are deeper than the superficiality of symbolism we have become accustomed to in the dominant public discourse.The  ANC is leading and presiding over a counter-revolution in South Africa and its degeneration has its origins on  flawed ideological foundations that the ANC’s strategy is incapable of bringing about the kind of change that will truly emancipate the poor, that the ANC is politically and organizationally impotent, that with the ANC and through its leadership of the country, we have reached an inevitable cul-de-sac.

The ANC’s challenge is akin to what George Orwell called “double think” in his book, 1984. The ANC’s double think is that the oppressor and the oppressed can work together to end oppression. It escapes its mind that the oppressor class, even if it has the colors of a rainbow, is given rise to and is defined by exploiting the oppressed class. It escapes its mind that the oppressed class and its impoverishment is given rise to and is defined by being exploited by the oppressor class.

In its denial of suffering from double think, the ANC will not see that it is the logical consequence of this ‘co-existence’ that there is massive unemployment and poverty. It will continue to be astonished by the levels of inequality we have. It will continue to search for answers while holding the co-existence formula and be surprised at the results.

We live at irreconcilable polar ends. Yet one country. Let’s reclaim motherland that our forefathers have fought for. In so doing,  we build our own humanity. Reclaim our dignity and building a better country.

In Closing

Wilfred Owen on his poem in honour of the young soldiers who, like Buyile, left their homes and young families to defend their motherland in the battlefield only to return home covered in black body bags laments that:

• “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; Nor any voice of mourning save the


The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.”

In the first three lines of the sestet of the above poem, lies the question that lingers across all those who have passed abreast Comrade Gaba, and we ask ourselves “What candles may be held to speed [Buyile’s memory]? [It is] Not in the hands of boys, but in [our eyes], shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.”
Hamba Kahle Gaba, Msuthu!!

Delivered on behalf of the 21st NEC at the 2nd National Memorial in Eastern Cape Province.

*Cde Bamanye Matiwane*
President – SASCO 21st NEC

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