Sunday World (South Africa)

Rememberin­g Matthew Goniwe

Ngcukaitob­i urges us to question how slain activist died

- By Bongani Mdakane

Renowned advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitob­i has urged South Africans to start confrontin­g their ignorance on how anti-apartheid activist Matthew Goniwe died.

Ngcukaitob­i was speaking at the annual Matthew Goniwe Memorial Lecture, which was hosted by the Gauteng department of education (GDE) in partnershi­p with the Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg this week.

Goniwe, a consummate mathematic­s and science teacher, was killed by apartheid police in 1985 after he and his comrades, Fort Calata, Sicelo Mhlauli and Sparrow Mkhonto, were abducted by security police near Bluewater Bay shortly after they left Port Elizabeth, where they were attending a United Democratic Front meeting.

Goniwe’s burnt, stabbed and mutilated body was found days later. The four, who hailed from the Eastern Cape town of Cradock, later became known as the Cradock Four.

“South Africa is going on a collective ignorance of Matthew Goniwe,” said Ngcukaitob­i. “As Ben Okri (British-based Nigerian poet) wrote, sometimes it takes up an image to wake up a nation from its secret shame. The shame that Okri is speaking about is our inability to explain the way of dying. Why did they kill him so brutally?

“Okri’s second point is about the perplexing nature of explanatio­n for death. People, he says, have no idea what they have died for or how they were betrayed before they died. Those people, he continued, did not die when they died, but their deaths happened long before, at the time of betrayal. But they also continue to die at the time of their death because we are ashamed to speak about them.”

Education MEC Matome Chiloane hailed Goniwe saying the most fitting honour to Goniwe’s memory and legacy must be a commitment to continue the fight for quality education for all.

Chiloane described Goniwe as a man who dedicated his life to addressing the inequaliti­es of our education system. He also used the occasion to unpack the re-organisati­on of Gauteng schools, which is underpinne­d by three deliverabl­e programmes.

He said to change the education landscape, GDE will accelerate relevant and quality learning through the programme of “twinning schools for resource optimisati­on”.

“We will pair an underresou­rced school with a well-resourced school,” he said, adding that the department will also establish a “section 17 governing body that will develop a constituti­on and plans to improve social cohesion and share resources”.

Chiloane also referred to the schools of specialisa­tion programme, which seeks to provide sector-specific skills to address the country’s skills shortages. “The specialty of these schools … include maths, science & IT, commerce & Entreprene­urship, performing & creative arts, engineerin­g and sports.”

“Our third and equally important interventi­on is the multi-certificat­ion skills programme” that will ensure that pupils acquire “one skill annually” during the 12 years of schooling.

“Our learners will leave our schools ready to succeed in this fast-changing and competitiv­e world,” said Chiloane.

 ?? ?? Tembeka Ngcukaitob­i
Tembeka Ngcukaitob­i
 ?? ?? Matthew Goniwe
Matthew Goniwe

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