Tribute by Blade Nzimande at the Funeral Service of Ephraim Mogale (SACP Mpumalanga Provincial Chairperson)
8 June 2003, Bronkhortspruit
SACP Salutes Ephraim Mogale
A mere twelve days ago Provincial Office Bearers of the South African Communist Party in the Mpumalanga province waited in vain for the now lifeless Comrade Ephraim Mogale to arrive and join their regular meeting. Mogale’s family too waited not knowing that death had claimed their loved one. Death was hidden from them for two days. Since then we have mourned and said a number of things in remembrance our dear comrade. We have gathered at this place to prepare to lay to rest the mortal remains of a warrior and a patriot. We are meeting here to say a fond farewell to another human being, a parent, a friend, a comrade, a leader.
As he was to his family, Ephraim was also part of our flesh and blood as the South African Communist Party. His sudden and tragic death is a pain still to fresh to accept. His sudden and tragic death strikes deep in our hearts not only as his comrades but also as a fellow human being who, like all of us, had feelings and emotions. At this moment of parting, each one of us will remember many little things about Ephraim Mogale. We will all be within our right to all claim him as our husband, father, brother, comrade and friend for he was all of these things to all of us.
On behalf of all South African Communists, we dip our revolutionary banner, and expresses our heartfelt condolences to the wife, family, friends and comrades of Ephraim Mogale. On behalf of all South African Communists, we salute and remember Comrade Mogale as a hero, revolutionary and pioneer. We, together with others, who had the privilege to experience the comradeship of Ephraim Mogale, his hopes and his disappointments, his successes and his failures, will honour his memory and contribution as we move forward with the struggle that Ephraim Mogale committed his very life to.
Comrade Mogale’s life in the struggle against apartheid and for the transformation of our country reads like a history of our struggle from the post June 1976 intensification of mass mobilisation against apartheid. As the founding President of COSAS, Mogale was instrumental in building a revolutionary organ of progressive students opposed to apartheid and struggling against Bantu Education. He was aware that the students’ struggle was part and parcel of the overall anti-apartheid struggle. As a communist he was also keenly aware that the struggle for national liberation would not be complete without at the same struggling to defeat the capitalist bosses who extract
He belongs to a generation about which so much has been said and yet so little understood and written. The life story of Ephraim Mogale that must still be written must certainly talkabout the experiences and views of this generation in a manner which reveals the true story and how we can learn lessons for today and tomorrow.
Ephraim Mogale also distinguished himself as a promoter and defender of the revolutionary alliance between the national liberation movement, the communist party and the trade union movement.
A thoroughly democratic South Africa is the best monument that we can build in honour of Comrade Mogale.
It is for this reason that the Growth and Development Summit held yesterday must be regarded as an important step forward in the struggle to change our economy in favour of poor and working people.
The re-establishment of the Young Communist League, due to be launched in December, must be used to talk about the history and roles played by young communists such the one played by Ephraim Mogale in the student movement. This YCL must pay special attention to the state of progressive student organisations which are currently facing massive challenges which, no doubt, Ephraim Mogale had a concern about. Surely, he would have been part of efforts to overcome these challenges drawing deep from his days as student and youth leader in the 1980s.
Mogale, the communist, knew too well that the SACP, as a party of the working class cannot and will not survive without money and for this it needed to be self-sufficient. (Please say more) Comrade Ephraim leaves in the midst of a massive effort to strengthen and build a larger and more influential SACP worthy of claiming the names of Moses Kotane, Joe Slovo, Moses Mabhida, Chris Hani, Dora Tamana, Ruth First, JB Marks and hundreds of other South African communists who have since passed on. Through this process we have taken time to reflect on the type of the SACP that Kotane Hani, Slovo and indeed, Mogale, was building, particularly in relation to the tasks and challenges facing the SACP now. We have concluded that we want an an activist Party, a party rooted in the masses through taking up issues affecting ordinary people, an independent party yet part of an Alliance; a Party that believes in internal democracy, debate, criticism and self criticism; and a Party that hates careerism and ideological opportunism, the twin dangers we must guard against at this stage of our struggle.
Mogale's life and struggle in both the ANC and the SACP embodied his concrete understanding that the National Democratic Revolution is both an important goal in itself, but at the same time it is the most direct route to socialism. Conversely, he also understood that to advance the NDR requires the mobilisation of the working class consistently on socialist perspectives and approaches. In the current period, this means struggling against poverty, job losses, racism, capitalist banks and for social security and jobs for all.
As we lay Comrade Mogale to rest, we must also remind ourselves of the kind of ANC, alliance, leaders and cadres we need in South Africa today. Mogale, as both a communist and a disciplined member and leader of the ANC never regarded as a step cousin in the ANC. Mogale understood very well that without poor and working people and a bias towards them, the ANC becomes a different organisation from the one that he and thousands of other communists built.
The biggest tribute we can give to Mogale is by building an independent, dynamic SACP in touch with the workers and the poor. An independent and strong SACP is an indispensable component of our revolution. Without such a Party, the voice of the working class will be severely weakened. Such a Party is necessary to ensure that the voice and perspectives of the workers and the poor are the dominant concerns in the transformation process. Within this context we must ensure that the Alliance is strengthened. We must never allow opportunism of those who might be dreaming of breaking up the Alliance.
The SACP acknowledges Comrade Mogale’s contribution to the cause of national liberation, people’s power and socialism. As a result of his work, the red flag is flying aloft and the torch of socialism is seen by millions of our people and working class militants in every continent of our world to be glowing brightly here in our land. It is our task, as those who remain behind to carry the torch, to build a powerful, united vanguard of the working class, a party of the poor, a party that empowers the broad masses of our people, that enables them to carry through their historic mission. We must not and will not fail!
Hamba kahle qabane! Robala ka Kgotso Sebata!