Mandla Makupula "A Man Of Principle And Honesty"
By Mluleki Dlelanga
On Monday, 08 October 2018, just after the crack of the dawn, we woke up to the tragic news that one of the finest leaders of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and African National Congress (ANC), Cde Mandla Makupula
Has ceased to breathe. Cde Makupula was a man whom nature had endowed with considerable talelent as a thinker, teacher and orator. He used these gifts unselfishly to serve the working class especially the rural poor of South Africa to build an alternative, human and just world system, which puts humanity first. His contribution to fight against a system that was declared "a crime against humanity "is consummate and should be emulated by the new generation of activists.
Cde Mandla Makupula was born 09 October 1961, and grew up in Mdantsane, a Township born as a result of the heinous and racialised segregation living patterns introduced by illegitimate apartheid capitalist government of the past. Growing up amongst the wretched of the poor of Mdantsane, the racialised, class composition and under-developed of the area shaped Cde Makupula's political and ideological orientation, as Karl Marx once said" It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence but their social existence that determines their consciousness". It is within this context that it was not by coincidence of his class being or background that Cde Makupula was recruited into the underground structures of the South African Communist Party (SACP), after the Party was banned in 1950. Cde Makupula's involvement and participation in the Party was a correct political decision.
Cde Makupula was not only a man of principle and honesty, but was a revered political teacher. He had an immense and deep understanding of Marxist doctrine since it is regarded as "omnipotent because it is true (truthful)". He had earned himself a decorated title of "Principal" in recognition of his love and passion in teaching Marxism amongst the rank and file of the mass democratic movement of ANC-headed Alliance. Cde Makupula had matured over years, just like a well-blended and fine bottled wine, and whose tongue was sharp as his agile mind. Through political education Cde Makupula was making a significant and valuable contribution in sharpening the levels of consciousness and political clarity amongst the broad membership of both the SACP, ANC, COSATU and SANCO. A number of well-known and noticeable leaders learned their politics from this fountain of wisdom. He should be celebrated for his resolute and steadfastness in cultivating a new crop of cadres and activists armed with the correct theory of the National Democratic Revolution and the struggle for Socialism. In no distant future a school a school of excellence should be built in appreciation of his contribution and selfless sacrifice to the cause for a free and democratic South Africa and the struggle for a Socialist South Africa.
Makupula's name will be engraved in history books for his role, as part of a 'golden generation" that formed the Congress of South Africa Students (COSAS) in 1979, which fearlessly fought against imposition of Afrikaans in Black and working class schools under Bantu Education. It was his generation inspired by 1973 Durban Strike and June 16, 1976 uprisings, which heeded then exiled ANC President Oliver Tambo's clarion call to make Apartheid State "ungovernable"
Cde Makupula was incorruptible and never abused his proximity to political power in order to live an opulence life, whilst the majority of our people lived in wretched conditions. It was not surprising that he was amongst the few dependable and trusted ANC-SACP deployee's who never hogged news headlines on allegations of corruption or tainted for abusing his political office to offer undue favors to his close comrades or relatives. He treated his political office as an instrument entrusted to him by electorate, to improve and better their conditions. He was a remarkable symbol of Amilcar Cabral assertion that "always bear in mind that people are not fighting for ideas, for their things in anyone's head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children"
Cde Makupula was a chief proponent of the "New Dawn "within the ANC-headed Alliance. It is within these reasons that the outcomes of the ANC 54th National Conference held in NASREC, should be welcomed by all sections of our society. This has placed our movement and a country in a different trajectory as defined as the "New Dawn", and we solely believe that it must take place the interests of the people first. This also impose political burden to the ANC and Alliance as a whole on a need to inculcate in as many of our people possible , to emulate the example set by Cde Makupula , over many decades , of adhering to high standards of behavior and revolutionary morality. This will represent a decisive break from the old era of then compromised former President Zuma administration, and renew the confidence of our people to the ANC, as we prepare for the 2019 National and Provincial elections.
Cde Makupula was a walking library and an unassuming political figure, and a lot can be learnt by the youth of the Eastern Cape and South Africa at large. He departs at a time wherein urban and rural poor youth are faced with serious daily struggles of unemployment, squalor, and poverty. These struggles are a manifestation of the failures of the capitalist system to put the needs of the people first, as opposed to profit maximization and greed. It on these basis that we call on youth , to draw a leaf from Cde Makupula's well-lived life , to fight for the aspirations and determine their own destiny , as we march forward to build a just and alternative future.
In these difficult and arduous daily struggles to forge maximum unity within the people's camp, we will find added aspiration, from Cde Makupula's exemplary life of selfless service and unflinching loyalty to the values and principles of our organizations. As Cde makupula lies emotionless in his golden, decorated with a Red Flag, lets borrow powerful lyrics from a freedom song of yesterday used to be sang in the trenches "we are soldiers of Luthuli. Wherever we may be, we pledge to bear witness to the nobility of the cause"
Equally, as Young Communists, we are unashamedly proclaiming by word and deed" we are soldiers of Makupula, wherever we may be, we pledge to bear witness to the nobility of our cause"
Cde Mluleki Dlelanga is the National Secretary of the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) and Ex-Officio member of PB and the SACP Central Committee (CC)