ANC family loses a giant in the heartbroken Kabini

Selby Makgotho

Selby Makgotho

The African National Congress family in Limpopo this week lost one of its giants, Darrie Jantjie Kabini.

Kabini died last weekend after battling years of ill health. He was 70.

Having left South Africa to go into exile in 1963, Kabini first received military training in Botswana. He proceeded to Malawi with other activists and was arrested and detained in Blantyre for a couple of months.

He later proceeded to Tanzania and was briefly based at the Mandela Camp outside Dar es Salaam. When the camp was relocated to Sudan on transit to Russia he, together with the late defence minister Joe Modise, continued to advance ANC activities underground.

Kabini and Modise, who at the time was a Putco bus driver and later a tickets inspector, remained close friends. They shared the responsibilities of driving underground freedom fighters to Kenya and Uganda.

The ANC later ordered Modise from Kenya to Tanzania for the party work.

Kabini and a group of 56 recruits went to Sudan, where they received further military training. He also attended the Odessa military training camp in Russia, where African freedom fighters, Cuban communists and the Vietnamese were taught political science extensively.

At Odessa, Kabini completed military courses in radio communications, artillery and intelligence. In the late 1960s, Kabini went back to Tanzania and was given the task to transport arms and ammunition in large quantities across the crocodile-infested Zambezi River into Botswana and then South Africa.

In its tribute, the ANC said Kabini was instrumental in its underground activities that ultimately brought liberation and freedom in South Africa.

He came back to South Africa in 1992 and in 2000 joined the Greater Groblersdal Municipality - now Elias Motsoaledi municipality - as a councillor. He served as a non-executive director of the Great North Transport from 2002 until last year. Last year he was appointed non-executive director of Corridor Mining Resources.

This week his family said Kabini died a heartbroken man after his eldest son, Reuben, disappeared without trace in 2001. He is survived by his wife Shirley, two daughters, two sons and 11 grandchildren. He will be buried at the Motetema cemetery tomorrow.

The service starts at 8am.