Tribute of Inkatha Freedom Party on the Occasion of a Memorial Service in Honour of Mrs Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe (27/07/1927-15/08/2018), Freedom-Fighter and Wife to Late Mr Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Founding President of the Pan Africanist Congress
Delivered by: Mbongeleni Joshua Mazibuko
Member: IFP National Executive Committee
Durban City Hall
The President of Inkatha Freedom Party, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the entire leadership and membership of the IFP wish to join South Africa and Africa in mourning the fall of a great woman; a woman of character – Mrs. Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe – who has sadly departed from our midst during this month which is dedicated to the women of our country. Our hearts go out to the Sobukwe family and relatives and to the Pan African Congress.
The relationship between my President and the Sobukwe family and the Pan African Congress goes back a long time ago when the Prince was a member of the Fort Hare University Branch of the ANC Youth League which Mr. Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe was leading as its Chairperson. The convergence of their ideas and patriotism strengthened their bonds as comrades, even after Mr. Sobukwe had left the African National Congress to found the PAC. And even Mr. Sobukwe’s incarceration and banishment did end the bond of their comradeship. Hence, when Mr. Sobukwe departed, the Sobukwe family and the PAC leadership agreed that the Prince was to be one of the speakers at Sobukwe’s funeral.
That friendship extended to the IFP; hence Inkatha’s campaigns for the release of political leaders and unbanning of liberation movements were not confined to the African National Congress and its leaders.
Mrs. Sobukwe was a freedom-fighter in her own right. As history tells, what first brought her and Mr. Sobukwe together were matters of the struggle as she was leading the strike by nurses at Lovedale College. That involvement earned her expulsion from the College. And she too, like Mr. Sobukwe, was a member of the ANCYL. Consequently, the Fort Hare ANC Youth League sent her to Johannesburg to deliver a letter to Mr. Walter Sisulu concerning the plight of the nurses who were on strike.
Mrs. Sobukwe will forever epitomize the spirit of principled defiance and resilience. She withstood and survived ploys of the apartheid regime to break her and her family by turning her into a widow at an early age when they took her husband away from her and children.
Mrs. Sobukwe belonged to that special category of men and women of character, to whom service for their fellow humans was a noble calling; men and women who sacrificed their day so that we would bask in the glory of a democratic South Africa. Her departure leaves the country poorer
As she exits, South Africans are left with a challenge. The challenge is that Mrs. Sobukwe’s full story, is yet to be told – just like the full story of Mr. Robert Sobukwe and the full stories of many more heroes and heroines of our struggle.
In conclusion, the IFP wishes to thank God for the rich and selfless life of Mrs. Sobukwe. We also wish to pray that God be a light to the Sobukwe family as they walk through this shadow of death.
I thank You