First of all, I want Comrade Seshibe and his children and all his relatives to know that we are proud of the life Dr Nana Seshibe has lived. Dr. Nana passed away in Washington DC and is being buried tomorrow in America. Her role is a good reflection on the family as a whole. She had a life full of purpose, a life with a personal vision, a life of selflessness, a life of perseverance in the struggle for the liberation of her people, a fierce courage to face difficulties of life, especially in the liberation struggle. She was just a little girl when she left her country because she loved to see her people liberated from apartheid colonialism in South Africa. She was a clear minded person. She was focused. She was dedicated to the noblest cause on earth – the liberation of one’s people and mankind.
Dr. Nana never succumbed to the embarrassment some people feel about an honest expression of love for Pan Africanism. She was able to say, “Izwe Lethu! iAfrika! with great openness in public and in private. She was a lover of her people and her Continent and regarded our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora as great sons and daughters of that great continent which produced the first human civilisation on this planet, notwithstanding the lies and distortions of colonial historians.
Yes, Africa built Memphis the capital city of MIZRAIM (ancient Egypt) in 3100 B.C. Greeks built Athens in 1200 B.C. The Romans built Rome in 1000 B.C. Africa invented writing. It was Hieroglyphics in 3000 B.C. and hieratic writing shortly after this. Demotic writing was developed about 600 B.C. The Kushite script was used in 300 B.C. Other scripts were Merotic, Coptic, Amharic, Sabean, Gee’z, Nsibidi of Nigeria, Mende of Mali and writings such as the Twi Alphabet of the Twi people of Ghana.
In November 1999, some scholars at Yale University such as Prof. John Damell in America discussed the origin of writing in the world. They found no reason to dispute the fact that the location was Africa – Alkebu-Lan – the Land of Ham. Some of his sons were Kush, Mizraim, Phut. This is an important continent whose civilisation such as the pyramids found in Mizraim, Kush (Ethiopia) and Nubia (ancient Sudan) is well recorded.
Indeed, Edem Kodjo, author of AFRICA TOMORROW, a profound researcher on Africa has written, “It is here in Africa that history began. Far from being a gratuitous assertion, this statement is undeniable scientific fact for which one finds corroboration when one roves the world in search of the remains of ancient civilisations….Africa remains the privileged source of the early intense human activity.”
As everyone knows Africa has been targeted for destruction for a long time through colonial terrorism and racism. Dr. Nana Seshibe stands very tall in the liberation not only of Azania (South Africa). She was a little girl when she answered the call for the liberation of our Mother Continent – Africa. She has had disappointments about how some people claiming to liberate, especially Azania, let the Native Land Act 1913 be entrenched in section 25(7) of the constitution of what the world has been told is “New South Africa” or the “rainbow nation.” This has created a situation of “two nations” – one extremely rich and European minority of 8.9% and the other an extremely poor one involving an African majority of 79.2%.
This is what at the end has saddened Dr. Nana Seshibe very much. But she was not discouraged. She kept on doing what she could do to bring sense to the Pan African vision of a United States of Africa, prosperous and great among the nations of the world. There are signs of a new awakening among the young Africans in Africa including Azania – her country of birth.
Heroes are immortal. They seem more powerful in their spirit than in their mortal life. Their spirits become the fountain of inspiration to conquer the forces of evil, oppression and human destruction. That is why we still invoke the spirits of lovers of Africa such as Malcom X, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba and that of Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe of the “Sobukwe Clause” fame and Robben Island imprisonment without even a mock trial by the forces of colonialism and racism.
Speaking on Heroes Day in Azania (South Africa) in the ears of the then little Nana Seshibe, Sobukwe pointed to the importance of our heroes as inspirers of our liberation. He said: “Sons and Daughters of Africa, we are going down the corridor of time renewing our acquaintance with the heroes of Africa’s past- those men and women who nourished the tree of freedom and independence with their blood, those great Sons and Daughters of Africa who died in order that we may be free in the land of our birth.”
We are not here to bury Dr. Nana Seshibe but to record her name on the list of our heroes. As we lay down this great daughter of Africa, let me repeat Sobukwe her first President of the Pan Africanist Congress when he proclaimed on that Heroes Day a long time ago: “We meet here today, to rededicate ourselves to the cause of Africa, to establish contact beyond the grave with the great African heroes and assure them their struggle was not in vain. We are met here Sons and Daughters of the beloved land to drink from the fountain of African achievement, to remember the men and women who begot us, to remind ourselves of where we come from and restate our goals. We are here to draw inspiration from the heroes of Thaba Bosiu, Isandlwana and Sandile’s Kop and numerous other battles fields where our forefathers fell before the bullets of the foreign invader.”
Brothers and sisters and comrades, the only way we can honour this great daughter of Africa is by rededicating ourselves to the unfinished struggle in Azania and on our beloved Continent.
Let us remember our martyr Patrice Lumumba in the Congo when he said, “I prefer to die with my head held high, unshakable faith in the greatest confidence in the destiny of my country than live…in contempt for sacred principles.”
I have known Dr. Nana Seshibe for many years. In fact, the last time I spoke on Africa Liberation Day in many American universities I was sponsored by her and the AAPRP brothers and sisters.
Dr. Nana Seshibe is a warrior. She stood boldly for the defence of Africa in the stormy sea of falsehood and deception. She was not made of tender fibre. She was not a woman of lily fingers. She was not for sale. She was a daughter of Africa whom historical necessity had called upon to contend under the stern realities of life and vicissitudes for the liberation of her people.
SHE HAS RUN HER EARTHLY RACE WITH DISTINCTION. SHE IS NOW TO WEAR A CROWN OF GLORY FOR HOW NOBLY SHE HAS LIVED HER LIFE FOR HER PEOPLE. SHE SACRIFICED HER LIFE FOR THE LIBERATION OF HER COUNTRY AND CONTINENT. LALA NGOXOLO MFARIKA OMHLE. SIZA KUKHUMBULA. IZWE LETHU! IAFRIKA.
By Dr. Motsoko Pheko
The writer is a former member of the Parliament of South Africa.