The passing away of a giant

Former Numsa President Mthuthuzeli Tom (“Mthura”) was laid to rest in his home in Mdantsane where thousands of Metal Workers descended from different regions to pay their last respects to the family of such a great Leader.

There were lots of comrades as expected. Local residents showed their hospitality by organizing bathrooms, breakfast and refreshments for everyone.

The geographic landscape of Mdantsane is beautiful. Houses built in those steepy hills make a wonderful view.

The size of the location is huge although house plans are not the same. The type of housing symbolizes the working class group community.

Schools are scattered all over the area, I’ve never seen so many schools in one area. The traffic is not that different from the one in downtown Johannesburg.

By the time the procession arrived, throngs of Metal Workers have already filled the big tent erected. “Wowo”, as he was affectionately known, was a loving family man.

His son Mkhonto we Sizwe said though his father would be away for long spells but when he came home they could then have KFC.

I noticed a smile though he was bereaved. An indication of how strong the recognition of their father’s contribution to the masses and the working class was.

The baby sister Amahle was overwhelmed and struck by reality that daddy is no more and so couldn’t continue with her story.

It was the same daughter whom the deceased on his way to the hospital said “he was going to miss her eyes”; so said Vavi .

During her father’s illness she could not understand why her father wouldn’t assist her with homework, instead she thought he was becoming lazy.

Saluted the leader

Tom’s funeral was like a lecture of a special kind having listened to what was said about him by heavyweights in the Trade Union business.

Speaking at the service at the NU1 Rugby Field in Mdantsane, East London, COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said: “We need leaders of his stature more than ever, as we confront the evils of high unemployment, poverty and inequality, the casualisation of labour and the rampant corruption which is poisoning our society”.

Numsa President Cedric Gina saluted the dedicated cde Tom saying: “He chose to stay with Numsa even when in 1994 many comrades left to join government in different capacities ….There are just too many leaders who abuse the term ‘I have been approached’”.

As the speeches ended, comrades sang the revolutionary song: “Sasi chilo so dibana – Amasi a bekwe e langeni” which was cde Tom’s favourite song.

Having helped built this giant “Numsa”, may God Almighty guide and protect his soul, his family and friends, to Metal Workers in general “Intsimbi ayigobi”. May you find strength with the passing of our intellectual shop steward.

Viva Numsa viva! Amaaandla! Qina msebenzi qina! Amaaandla! Awethu!
Lala ngoxolo msebenzi!


Numsa News No 3, October 2010