Members of the Family
Comrades and Friends,
On behalf of the African National Congress, I wish to thank, ka boikokobetso, the loving family of Cde Violet Seboni for making it possible for us to be part of this historic unveiling ceremony.
This occasion has enabled us to join you in remembering and honouring Violet with the decency and dignity of true Africans.
It is an important healing process that gradually and gently helps us to deal with our grief and tragic loss. Painful as it is, because it reminds us of a loss unparalleled, it is a path we have to take to reach the other side of our mourning cycle.
Only this way will we learn, one step at a time, to accept our fate as mere mortals in the broader scheme of things.
Only this way can we rise from the ashes like a phoenix and learn to celebrate her good deeds and be forever thankful of the beautiful moments she shared with us.
To the family, we would like to say as the ANC, take comfort in knowing that her memory will live permanently in our hearts.
I remember vividly the many inspiring messages we have received from fellow compatriots and friends, across the political spectrum, bearing testimony to a heroic life lived in the struggle for social justice and a better life for all.
Such was the life of a revolutionary and champion of the working class and the poorest of the poor – Cde Violet Seboni.
These positive and fortifying tributes paid to our legendary comrade since her departure to the world beyond, have indeed confirmed the largeness of her life.
The common thread in these messages has been the memory of the life of an outstanding COSATU 2nd Deputy President and a loyal member of our movement – the ANC.
Messages of condolences and warm words of comfort have assisted us to come to terms with our grief and to better appreciate what John Keats meant when he said:
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever, its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.”
Our being here today to support the family and friends of Cde Violet confirms beyond doubt that her life and all she stood for “will never pass into nothingness.”
The ANC is therefore grateful to the loving family that gave us this most precious gift whose beauty will indeed remain “a joy forever”.
We are more than thankful for the noble gesture of love and affection the family has extended to our Comrade and Friend.
Through today’s deed, you have created the most peaceful space for reflecting on the exemplary life she has lived and have chosen a suitable time to do so.
Tomorrow, 1 August, marks the first day of Women’s Month which will allow us to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the total emancipation and empowerment of women.
It is daring efforts of finest daughters of the South African revolution, like Violet, that have made it possible for us to celebrate in a liberated national democratic South Africa, the historic women’s march of 9 August 1956 to the Union Buildings in protest against pass laws.
The selected theme for this year being “Working together for Equal Opportunities and Progress for All!”, we will strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, to ensure women of our country enjoy all the rights that our democratic Constitution has extended unto them.
These include the right to Equality, the right to Human Dignity, the right to Life and the right to Freedom and Security.
These liberatory actions we will take to ensure contributions of Cde Violet to the struggle against sexism and gender inequality “never pass into nothingness.”
Symbolically and in all other respects, the monument we are unveiling today in Violet’s honour, will always remind us of her pride of place in the list of South Africa’s heroines.
In our history of struggle, Violet has joined the list of leaders of the historic march to Pretoria – Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Sophy Williams and Rahima Moosa.
She has joined legends like Charlotte Maxeke, Madi Hall-Xuma, Dorothy Nyembe and all other heroines.
As we celebrate achievements of Cde Violet, many of us will recall her passionate speeches and revolutionary statements.
She often spoke about issues that were very close to her heart. She would speak of what she called “the job loss blood bath” and grinding “poverty”.
It is these words, uttered in her unique way, that will always serve to strengthen our resolve as the ANC and the Alliance to deliver on our 2009 election manifesto.
Cde Gwede Mantashe confirmed these commitments when he delivered the Memorial Lecture on the Life and Times of Violet Seboni on 16 April 2010. He said these are:
- Creating more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihood;
- Rural development and agrarian reform; and
- Fighting crime and corruption.
As Cde Mantashe has said, “to celebrate the life lived to the fullest, we must serve our people with distinction”.
Once more, to the family, on behalf of the African National Congress, ‘thank you’ for remembering Cde Violet Seboni by erecting and unveiling a memorial in her honour.
I thank you.