Speakers at the memorial service of MK fighter Cecyl Esau have described him as a committed revolutionary. He died at his home in Cape Town at the age of 66, two weeks ago.
He was accorded a Special Provincial Official Funeral Category 2 by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Freedom fighter, academic and community organiser Esau was sentenced to 12 years on Robben Island, for involvement in political activities and was released in 1991.
A committed struggle veteran with integrity, speakers say Esau remained committed to the fight against poverty and crime and an end to racism even after 1994.
ANC Western Cape interim leader, Lerumo Kalako, described Esau as a selfless person who rejected a style of leadership that demands rewards from the ANC.
“Positions and possessions were not what you were after. You never demanded; it was about what’s best for the masses and the ANC. For you, the ANC had to be an instrument in hands of people; a people-first organisation.”
Struggle icon Cecyl Esau laid to rest:
Struggle veteran and cleric, Alan Boesak, referred to Esau as a gentle revolutionary. “Cecyl worried about the people. If somebody got hurt, got killed, he worried about the family, the personal choices they would have to make; not just the collective sacrifices. He had a quality to his leadership that we sorely missed.”
Retired High Court Judge, Siraj Desai, who was Esau’s legal counsel for most of his trials, says he was courageous.
“His constant question was this, ‘are we failing the struggle by not addressing inequality and poverty, are we failing the poor by not eradicating economic exploitation of the poor and working-class?’ That was the tenure of my last few discussions with him.”
Esau was granted the freedom of Worcester in 2020. A residence at the University of the Western Cape was also named after him.
Esau is survived by five children and a grandchild. He was cremated during a private ceremony last week.