Torchbearer of socialism, black consciousness

Mokgadi Pela

When I arrived at Phuti David Makgakga's home last Tuesday, his lifeless body lay in his bedroom.

His wife Ndumi and neighbours were crying silently, hoping for a miracle.

But their hopes were dashed half an hour later by paramedics who certified him dead.

The personal loss is indescribable, but I am full of praise for this man of integrity, who until his death at age 66, was a tower of black consciousness and committed to scientific socialism.

Having been involved in civic politics in Tembisa and leading Azapo, with his house in Mutsu Section as a meeting point, he understood the dangers that went with this.

He survived eight bullets in the late 1980s and was detained several times under the dreaded Internal Security Act.

When the Black Consciousness Movement began to rupture, Makgakga left Azapo to form the Socialist Party of Azania in 1998.

He stayed with the organisation until September last year when, along with hundreds of Black Peoples' Convention members and dozens from Azapo and Sopa, they formed the Black Consciousness Party (BCP).

My respect for him is further borne by the fact that despite suffering a stroke in November 2006, he continued to fight for the unity of the BCM.

My further respect for him stems from his organisational skills. He had recruited almost everyone in his 100-plus family to the BCP, constantly stressing that "another world is possible".

He has in death he has joined the ranks of other revolutionaries.

I have no doubt that when the history of this country is rewritten, his name will appear in its proper context.

Makgakga will be buried tomorrow at the Rondebult Cemetery after a service at the Antioch Community Centre in Section 1, Villa Liza, from 8.30am to 11am.