President bids farewell to fallen MK hero

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has promised he would ensure that the lives of the people are changed for the better in honour of fallen struggle heroes.

Zuma was speaking in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday during the funeral of Natal Midlands Umkhonto we Sizwe veteran Anthony Ndoda "Mfenendala" Xaba.

Xaba, 76, was one of ANC leaders who were detained on Robben Island.

Zuma described Xaba as "everything in the ANC - a member and a leader with very special qualities".

Xaba was part of the generation from the 1950s that was willing to make sacrifices in pursuit of the liberation of South Africa.

"In honouring fallen heroes, we will ensure that we change the lives of the people for better because that is what they struggled and died for," Zuma said.

He said what hurt him most was that he had personally known Xaba for a long time. "His passing away revokes contradictory feelings. On the one hand, I feel pain of the sudden loss of a comrade, and on the other I feel that we need to celebrate his life, the sacrifices he made to make this country free," he said.