Struggle stalwart, PAC veteran Kwedi Mkalipi laid to rest

'We don't wait to be in government to change peoples lives'
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Struggle stalwart and Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) veteran, Kwedi Mkalipi, has been laid to rest in Cape Town. He died more than a week ago, following a long illness.

Mkalipi is one of the co-founders of the PAC, along with its leader, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe in 1959. He was arrested in 1965 and sentenced to 20 years on Robben Island.

Mkalipi was honoured with the Order of Albert Luthuli in Silver by former President, Thabo Mbeki. He has been awarded a Provincial Official Funeral by the government of the Western Cape.

“I regarded him as my political uncle, he was a younger brother to my father. The struggles they fought did not define them as either PAC or the ANC. They fought for all of us to be free and together they had a very good relationship on the island and and we as the families of all those people at the island we have a very special relationship,” says family friend, Lindiwe Sisulu.

The family of the struggle icon has described him as a person — who had love for his people.

“It just means how big my father’s heart was and it also means how big my father truly was as a person. Because the turnout was more than I expected. It was very emotional and the service was very well done,” says Bongiwe Mkhaliphi, his youngest daughter.

PAC President, Mzwanele Nyhontso, has called on members of his party to honour him by going to the polls and vote in numbers. Mkalipi’s death comes at the back of another loss of political giant, former PAC President, Motsoko Pheko.

“Of course it’s sad to lose such icons both of them. We have paid tribute to ntate Pheko and we are paying tribute to Mkalipi. Now I said they are all going to join a council of PAC leaders in heaven to guide us and give us strength as we campaign for this August party of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe and I can assure you this time we are going to surprise many,” says Nyhontso.

Nyhontso also took a swipe at the provincial government after the Premier failed to attend and deliver the eulogy. Representatives from the provincial government were however, present, and declined to comment. Former leaders of trade unions associated with the PAC were in attendance. They included the former general-secretary of Nactu, Cunningham Ngcukana, and Sithembele Khala, former general secretary of Mwasa .

Mkalipi has been laid to rest at the Eester River Cemetery.

Reporting by Lerato Dlalisa