So long, Comrade Molewa, servant of the people
This is a shortened tribute at the Memorial Service of Minister Edna Molewa.
MINISTER Molewa, as we have been told, was not only a minister of government, she was an exceptional human being and a phenomenal woman.
She excelled in all human pursuits and had a well-rounded life.
She served as a member of her church, a family pillar, mother and a friend.
She was not only an ANC Struggle stalwart, but served diligently in the trade union movement.
In her presence few were equal to the task! She made passing through the eye of a needle seem a breeze, where many carrying the burden of wealth would fail.
She belonged to a league of tried and tested extraordinary women of her time.
Since Minister Molewa walked the last mile of her way, our country has received messages of goodwill from all over the world.
We have throughout the last week listened to tribute after tribute and been moved by the outpouring of heartfelt accolades.
We have been reminded that she started her life as a daughter of the oppressed, but she would not allow herself to be defined by the smallness of time, the bigotry of race and the accumulated burdens of her past.
Instead of accepting racial oppression, she fought back.
She bore her cross with honour and righteousness. She would not allow that neither she nor her people should be defined by anything else but the content of their character.
She refused to be caged by her race, gender, class and other socio-economic constructions.
Right to the end, she was loyal to the cause of a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, just and prosperous South Africa.
Where she led, she led with integrity, sincerity and truth. Where she followed, she did so with grace and humility. Where she was called, she answered with a sense of duty, service and putting her people first.
She would walk into a deadlock and leave with a resolution. She would do so forthrightly, with dignity and with moral authority.
She made the case for sustainable development without fear, favour or sense of retreat. She was determined and decisive. She would not be swayed where principle mattered.
Despite her world renown, she did not wallow in her own sense of vanity. Driven by the pain and dreams of her people, she forever and always carried herself with quiet dignity.
She was not one for the noisy pursuits of life. She preferred science, reason and intellectual rigour in all she did. She won her arguments not by popular sentiment but by the force of great ideas.
As a former worker leader, she employed tools of analysis as a fusion of necessity, innovation and scientific advancement.
In her work, nothing would escape her eye. She did not suffer fools lightly. She had the uncanny ability to consume facts with the dexterity to outfox the architects of poverty, want and deprivation.
When she spoke for her people, when she stood up for the Khoi and the San, when she defended the rhino, fought against the destruction of the environment, when she spoke of the theft, misappropriation and commercialisation of our heritage, she did so with bravery and conviction.
At times she stood alone, but never grew faint of heart in her defence of the birth rights and legacy of her people.
To the ultimate end, she dedicated herself to teaching, learning, thought-leadership and struggle .
As her daughter told us this week, her mother was prone to sitting close to her telephone, refusing to switch it off.
As she was known to insist, she demanded that when the ordinary woman from Pitse-di-Sule Jang – a reference to culling of donkeys under Mangope bantustan misrule – called her, she had to be able to respond.
She thought she had to respond promptly and directly to the cries on rhino poaching, water scarcity, and economic marginalisation of the people of Hluhluwe, Mahlabathini (iSimangaliso) and Bulwer.