Tribute by Honourable Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, at the funeral service of the late David Dlali in the National Assembly
14 Jun 2012
I stand here before you to celebrate the life of a loyal servant of the people of South Africa, a friend, a father, and a committed cadre of our movement who devoted most of his adult life to the service of his people; a humble, yet fierce defender of the gains of our democracy and freedom.
Many of us are still struggling to come to terms with the shock and pain of the passing away of this great citizen, whose real contribution to our government and our people is still to be fully acknowledged and recognised. He clearly understood the aspirations of the people of South Africa and the nature of sacrifices necessary to achieve the goal of liberation. He contributed immensely to the downfall of apartheid and was also one of the architect of our new democracy society.
I stand here to pay tribute to one of the unsung heroes of our struggle for liberation who also served our young democracy with selfless dedication. Those in our country who are committed to the vision of a better life for all will sorely miss his passion and commitment to serve the poor and vulnerable masses of our people.
I have no doubt that David Dlali’s name will be mentioned alongside those of the best sons and daughters of our country who passed away in service of their people. All those who worked closely with him will treasure his memory as one of our most distinguished sons who consciously chose a dangerous path that naturally invited personal suffering, state brutality, callous repression, torture and police harassment. He pursued this path with a single mindedness of purpose, for he knew that indeed, there comes a time in the life of every nation, when it is faced with two choices: to fight or to submit. David chose to fight with every available sweat and ammunition at his disposal.
The people of our country will treasure his memory as one of our most distinguished sons who consciously chose to fight a cruel and inhuman system at a time when it was extremely dangerous to do so. From a young age, he demonstrated his commitment to the liberation of his people. He joined the MK underground structures as part of the liberation movement’s objective to intensify the people’s war against the tyranny of apartheid.
He served Parliament selflessly because he knew that it was a critical institution of our democracy and a crucial pillar of transformation. He understood that it was through this institution of public accountability that we would be able to realise the vision of: The people shall govern! Even up to his last day, he placed his life and service in the hands of the ANC and the people of his country. Even beyond the 1994 breakthrough, he continued to serve the ANC with loyalty to ensure that it continues to be a movement of transformation and a disciplined force of the left.
At the time of his death, he was serving our people in the Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities with unparalleled commitment and loyalty. In his own humble ways, he taught all of us about patriotism, accountability and loyalty to our country and its people.
As a cadre of our movement and a servant of the people of South Africa, his contribution was aimed not at seeking personal glory, fame or material rewards. His was a genuine commitment to build for our people a future that is qualitatively better than our ugly past. He had a genuine commitment to build a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa. Indeed, his was a selfless contribution to the advancement of all the people of our country.
To David, I would like to say: Take your journey with courage, my dear comrade and colleague. Those of us who are remaining behind shall forever be grateful for the sacrifices you made. You left us a proud legacy and it is this legacy that will propel us as we confront the challenges that lie ahead. In you, many of us saw the personification of patriotism, dedication and selfless service!
As we struggle to come to terms with the reality of Dlali’s death, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and to all who grieve his passing. To the family, we wish to say that we are with you in your hour of pain and darkness. We hope you will find solace in the knowledge that you are not the only ones who have lost a loved one. Indeed, the whole country and the entire democratic movement lost a committed and loyal servant. You must find comfort in the knowledge that his life touched and influenced so many of us.
As a tribute to Mr Dlali, let us continue to work tirelessly in pursuit of the kind of society for which he sacrificed most of his life. In his memory, let us build a society that enables all its citizens, including women, children and people with disabilities, to taste the fruits of our freedom and democracy. This will be a fitting tribute we can pay to David who dedicated his entire life to these ideals.
May his soul rest in peace.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
14 Jun 2012
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