Saying goodbye to Rev Dr Elliot Mvuyise Mgojo: iLIVE PICTURES
Thousands came to pay their final respects to cleric and human rights activist Rev Dr Elliot Mvuyise Mgojo during a moving funeral service held at Ugu Sports Arena outside Gamalakhe Towhnship in Port Shepstone.
Dr Mgojo, who died last week, was eulogised as a firm believer in equality and human rights.
Speaker after speaker spoke about Mgojo's many contributions to bringing about democracy and peace including his role in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize was among speakers, including President Jacob Zuma and Archbishop Desmond Tutu who said their fond farewells to Mgojo.
President Zuma recalled how Mgojo would insist on opening all meetings with a prayer, especially when he went to visit ANC leaders in exile.
REV. MGOJO REMEMBERED BY GERTRUDE SHOPE
“In 1985, as we were preparing to go to the ANC National Conference in Kabwe, Zambia, we received very sad news to the effect that the Apartheid security forces had been to Gaborone in Botswana in hot pursuit of the ANC cadres and fifteen men and women were massacred at night in their sleep.
After the official opening of the conference, Comrade Andrew Masondo and I were delegated to represent the ANC at the funeral, as well as to assist comrades in Botswana in coordinating all funerals.
At the time, the Chief Representative of the ANC in Gaborone, the late Cde Thami Sindelo wasout of the country, attending the ANC conference in Zambia. Ambassador Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe, who was then employed by a Norwegian NGO called NORAD, was mandated to hold the reins in the place of comrade Sindelo.
The all-round assistance we got from the Government and people of Botswana will remain in our minds for many years to come. In addition to giving our people refuge, the Government and people of Botswana made us feel that we were not alone in our grief.
Our spirits were lifted to the highest, when we saw a delegation of our Ministers of religion, under the leadership of Reverend Mgojo, who had responded to the call of duty by travelling all the way from South Africa to Gaborone. It is important to recall that this was a time wrapped in a cloud of high tension and uncertainty caused by the wrath of the Apartheid regime. In travelling to Gaborone they were continuing to carry out the noble role played by the South African clergy throughout the years of struggle to the end.
Concluding my vote of thanks, following the main address which was delivered by Comrade Masondo on behalf of the ANC, I thanked them all, for all the assistance provided and cooperation rendered. I took the opportunity to turn to the women in their capacity as burden barriers, saying to them that as we go back to Lusaka, we shall report to President Oliver Tambo on how we were received and that the funeral could not have been better handled. I emphasized that “because of this satisfaction, we leave our fallen comrades in their soft hearts and tender care, mindful of the fact that where there is a child, there will always be a mother:”, meaning that we are convinced that the eternal sleeping places of our cadres remain in their good hands.
When we got back to Lusaka we reported to President Tambo, that the religious leaders and the hospitality of the Government and people of Botswana provided the honour and dignity that our fallen heroes and heroines deserved.
Today, twenty seven years after that sad event, which still rings fresh in our memories and whose wounds are only beginning to heal whilst still septic, Reverend Mgojo, our pillar of strength, who held high our hopes of achieving success in the goals we had set ourselves, has now passed away.
His firm and warm leadership will always be felt by all South Africans who held hands together with him and all those with whom we travelled through the foggy moments and flooded terrains, as we followed the distant light that kept a steady flicker at the end of the tunnel
May his soul rest in peace. He played his role with great vigour and dignity”.