Sipho "Boysie" Maepa would have turned 58 next Friday. Instead his family and friends will be bidding him a sad farewell tomorrow.
He died on Tuesday at his smallholding in Winterveld, outside Pretoria.
As a founding member of the Socialist Party of Azania (Sopa), Maepa dedicated his life to the liberation of his people.
The real Maepa nailed his colours to the mast as an independent, eking out a livelihood as a worker in various sectors, culminating in his being a small-scale farmer at the time of his death.
A former Sopa deputy treasurer, Maepa will not only be missed by the party but will be remembered for his incisive intelligence, searing ascertainment of issues and, above all, unyielding in pursuit and propensity in policy propulsion.
At international level he was also the party's emissary in delegations abroad, where Sopa's standing was well ascertained and welcomed.
This was when he was chosen to represent the party in the US on the International Tribunal on Africa, sharing the platform with delegates from more than 60 countries.
He was also vocal in his demand that the unity of the Black Consciousness Movement Organisations was paramount, and that such unity can never be a unity to subordinate us to the whims of the ruling party, but to fight for an egalitarian society as expressed by Steve Biko long ago.
"The unity talks are at an advanced stage and we would have expected him to play an important role in this venture. This was not to be as death had other ideas," said a Sopa official this week.
Not only is his passing a loss to his wife Paulinah, two sons, a daughter and extended family, but also to his home-town friends and associates of Orlando West Extension and colleagues.
Maepa will be buried tomorrow at West Park Cemetery. The service will be held at St John's Cathedral near The Dome in Northgate at 10am.