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    Date published:27 June  2016
    Article category: Speeches



    Joel Netshitenzhe

    25 June 2016


    Programme Director

    Ms Halalisiwe Mthimkhulu and the family

    Leaders of the religious community

    Leaders of the ANC and the Alliance

    Friends, colleagues and comrades

    I wish to express my profound appreciation for the opportunity to take part in this celebration of a life well-lived in the service of the people.

    Many of us, on receiving the invitation to this remembrance ceremony, did wonder whether, some eighteen months after Mtholephi Mthimkhulu left us, it is appropriate to rekindle the grief in our hearts, to again stare into the dark void that Makhulukhulu has left, and to relieve moments that are now consigned to the bosom of memory. But we drew comfort from the knowledge that, it is both necessary and unavoidable that we should, over and over again, remind ourselves of Mtholephi’s life. For contained in it is a frame of reference of what a servant of the people should be.

    Given this reality, the question has nagged those of us who were required to contribute to the remembrance, whether we deserve this platform. And so in all modesty, I wish once again to thank the Mthimkhulu family for this honour, with you to doff our hats and sing the melody of memory, hoping that, in doing so, the qualities that Mtholephi represented will live on among us: as lodestars that guide our way, as warning lights when the temptation to do wrong assails us, as reminders that word and deed should nestle in unison, so we do not become liars and deceivers, in pursuit of the false convenience of material privilege.

    And so as we celebrate one of the unique cadres with whom we were privileged to call a comrade, a colleague and a friend, memories come fleeting by, about the rare qualities of warmth and humanity: the warmth and humanity in gait and mien; the warmth and humanity in tone of voice; the warmth and humanity that seemed only naturally to accord Makhulukhulu popular trust and authority. To earn the positions of responsibility in which he served, Mtholephi did not need to plot in corners, to attach himself to some factional cult, to intimidate, or to kill. He persuaded by good deeds and the warmth and humanity that he exuded, that he was worthy of being called a people’s leader.​

    To read the full tribute click here​


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