A tombstone unveiling was held in Manzini Swaziland for former uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) member, Mandla Blackman Msibi, who was killed in Swaziland in 1980.
Attending the unveiling was General Siphiwe Nyanda of the Umkhonto Wesizwe Millitary Veterans, who says Msibi would be pleased with all the achievements of the African National Congress (ANC) in relation to service delivery. Yet would have been in pain by some of the latest developments in South Africa - especially attempts to capture the state.
Msibi was killed by apartheid forces through poisoning at the age of 48. He was operating in Swaziland when killed in 1980. His
family, and the Umkhonto Wesizwe Millitary Veterans unveiled his thombstone in Manzini.
His daughter Mhlabase Msibi-Gordon says she was only seven when her father passed on. She says it feels good to see the democracy which her father died for. "We are here to honour our father, he has been gone very long, but it also shows the impact of his association with his friends, with his comrades and his family obviously, so to us this is a very big day. A very important day and we feel like we have finally given him the ultimately respect so it's very important."
Msibi left South Africa to join the armed struggle in 1976. He carried out several assignments in different countries.
Nyanda says Msibi died shortly after having a meeting with him. He says Msibi wanted to see South Africans have decent houses, with electricity and water.
Nyanda says so far the ANC has done well. However he says allegations of state capturing are of great concern. "I think it's not correct for the country, for state apparatus, for state institutions to be captured by anybody, it is the rights of business people to try to influence government... every business man would try to influence. If I am a business man I want to sit with the president on the same table... If I have money to sponsor an ANC event, but it’s another to try and do so unduly and in an illegitimate fashion," says Nyanda.
ANC representative Thenjiwe Mthintso challenged the youth to emulate Blackman Msibi. She says young people need to realize that now is their time to shape the future. "Black man fought for this revolution, this democracy, this freedom, unfortunately like many he was not ever able to taste the fruits of democracy. However he had not fought for it to personally taste the freedom, he had fought for us all to taste that freedom," says Mthintso.
Many of Mkhonto Wesizwe soldiers, who died outside South Africa, have been repatriated. However the Msibi family requested
that his remains should not be returned to Springs Gauteng and let him rest in Swaziland.
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