Comrade Jeffery Sedi Modise will be remembered as a shining light at time when darkness seemed to surround us. He provided leadership when few dared to stand up to the vicious oppressor. His contribution to the freedom we enjoy today must never be under estimated. His passing is a serious loss to our people.
As we mourn his death we must remember the words of the Great Teacher Jesus Christ who told us in St. Mathews Chapter 5 verse four that “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” In chapter 5 St. Mathew tells of the most celebrated teaching ever given by Christ. It is sometimes known as the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes. I searched St. Mathew Chapter for the comfort promised in Verse four and was about to give up when I saw a portrait of Comrade Jeffery Sedi Modise rising from each of the Beatitudes.
As I write this tribute, I see Comrade Jeff, as he was affectionately known to his comrades, standing at the head of a group of high school students, besides the late Comrade Tsietsi Mashinini, demanding the right to present their grievances to the authorities. I see opposite them an angry paramilitary force armed to the tooth, with instructions to shoot to kill with a detritions to unleash all their might on innocent little school children, most of whom were barely in their teens. Comrade Jeff and Tsietsi Mashinini stood their ground. They faced the oppressor in the eye, until the paramilitary force, supported by a helicopter, flinched and panicked. It unleashed a fire power that is usually reserved to combat an armed enemy force. At the end of the day more than one thousand school children lay dead on the streets of Soweto.
This led to a revolt the likes of which was not seen since the days of the Sharpeville Massacre. On that day, June 16, 1976, a new chapter was opened in the history of the struggle to liberate South Africa from white racist supremacy. The paramilitary force then embarked on a door-to-door campaign in search of the so-called ringleaders of the revolt. From that day on, Comrade Jeff, like former President Nelson Mandela sixteen years before him, became The Scarlet Pimpernel, forced to sleep on a different bed every night. He was tortured and persecuted for righteousness sake. He was blessed soul. Also like Nelson Mandela before him, Comrade Jeff was forced into exile to seek help to overthrow the white racist of South Africa.
It was in my capacity as a Member of the Central Committee of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania and a Member of the High Command of the Azanian Peoples’ Liberation Army that I welcomed Comrade Jeffery Sedi Modise and a number of new recruits at our Headquarters in the City of Dar-es-Salaam in East Africa. I saw him swear never to betray the goals of the revolution. I was with him as we took our first lesson on making revolution. We used the Military Writings of Chairman Mao-tse-Tung as our textbook. We learned that to liberate an oppressed people from a heavily armed oppressor, we need to build a Peoples’ Liberation Army.
We also learned that the gun, without the guidance of a correct political line, will not win a revolution.
Comrade Jeffery Modise proved to be a very fast learner. Soon he was selected for more intensive guerrilla training and joined the ranks of the Officers of the Azanian Peoples’ Liberation Army. He was appointed a Chief of Staff responsible for the receiving, storing and distribution of materials. He performed his tasks with unmatched efficiency and self-discipline, free from any form of corruption. He was a shining star in the performance of his duties. He was the light of his fellow comrades. He was a great asset to the Liberation Army of our people.
No duty was too heavy and no task too dangerous for Comrade Modise. In the sweltering heat of East Africa, he sweated profusely and realized many cuts and bruises to his limbs. From the sweat of his body and the drips of blood from his cuts and bruises came the salt that nourished the soil on which we stood He became the salt of the earth. Above all, Comrade Jeff was a Freedom Fighter dedicated to bringing peace and happiness to his people. He was an undisputed Peace Maker. Comrade Jeff was a meek and humble man. I never heard him exchange any harsh words with anybody. His rich voice was always heard in a hearty laughter or a revolutionary song.
It is comforting to learn of all these blessings that our comrade enjoyed; and that is why our Great teacher, Jesus Christ instructs us to “Rejoice” as we celebrate the life of our Comrade for he has gone to join those of our Heroes who left before. Let us salute him and say Izwe Lethu Son of Africa, enjoy the company of such heroes as Tsietsti Mashinini, Steve Biko and Mangaliso Sobukwe and many others. Rest in Peace.
By Mokgakala Serame
The late Comrade Jeffery Sedi Modise was born 10 December 1957. He passed away on April 18 2009 at 1400Pm aged 51years old. He died of lung cancer. He join PAC in 1976.