So long, true cadre

This week we lost a dis­tin­guished free­dom fighter in

CityPress - - Voices - GAONTEBALE NODOBA voices@city­press.co.za Nodoba is Azapo’s na­tional sec­re­tary for pub­lic­ity and in­for­ma­tion

The year 1994 was the time when most free­dom fighters in the lib­er­a­tion move­ment and their families re­turned from ex­ile. Those who were for­tu­nate were wel­comed by re­cep­tion par­ties or­gan­ised by their or­gan­i­sa­tions and ex­tended families. Vuy­isa Qunta and his fam­ily were among those gal­lant he­roes and hero­ines wel­comed by the Aza­nian Peo­ple’s Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Azapo) and the Qunta fam­ily.

The joy and ex­cite­ment that char­ac­terised the home­com­ing of “Bhuti”, as he was af­fec­tion­ately known, was re­placed by a som­bre mood in the Qunta house­hold and among Azapo and Aza­nian Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Army Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion com­rades when they re­ceived news of his pass­ing. Qunta passed away on Tues­day. The un­ex­pected loss of such an ac­com­plished rev­o­lu­tion­ary has left the Qunta fam­ily, es­pe­cially his daugh­ters, Nzinga and Yolisa, with­out their pil­lar of strength.

Azapo and its vet­er­ans have lost a dis­ci­plined com­rade and a ded­i­cated and trained sol­dier – an in­tel­lec­tual, prag­ma­tist, dis­ci­plinar­ian, health and fit­ness en­thu­si­ast, and an or­gan­ised in­di­vid­ual.

Com­rade Qunta skipped the coun­try in 1974 and fled to Botswana, where he joined other ex­iled black con­scious­ness mil­i­tants. He was a found­ing mem­ber of the Black Con­scious­ness Move­ment of Aza­nia (BCMA), which was launched in Lon­don in 1980.

Be­cause of his gift of the gab, he be­came the BCMA’s sec­re­tary for pub­lic­ity and in­for­ma­tion. This po­si­tion en­tailed the pro­duc­tion of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s quar­terly jour­nal, Sol­i­dar­ity.

In Azapo, we quenched our thirst for knowl­edge from his ed­u­ca­tional and thought-pro­vok­ing ar­ti­cles in the monthly mo­bil­i­sa­tion pub­li­ca­tion he edited, Let­setse – The Flea.

Af­ter the BCMA-Azapo merger congress in 1996, he be­came Azapo’s na­tional sec­re­tary for pub­lic­ity and in­for­ma­tion, a po­si­tion he served with dis­tinc­tion.

As the in­cum­bent in that po­si­tion, I am priv­i­leged to have ben­e­fited from this foun­tain of knowl­edge – a hum­ble man of the peo­ple.

His knowl­edge was en­cy­clopaedic, he had a ra­zor­sharp mind and was an ac­com­plished word­smith.

Bhuti’s love for sport and read­ing were al­most con­ta­gious. To this end, he co-au­thored two books: 1891-2003: 112 Years of Spring­bok Rugby – Tests and He­roes; and The Badge.

Th­ese books will con­tinue to serve as tes­ti­mony of his prow­ess as a word­smith.

Vuy­isa Bhuti Qunta would like us to re­mem­ber him as a true patriot.

In an in­ter­view last year, Bhuti said: “I would like to be re­mem­bered as some­one who gave a lot to heal and grow my coun­try, my com­mu­nity and my fam­ily, in that or­der.”

Lala ngox­olo Mbongwe!

FALLEN HERO Vuy­isa Qunta

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