Tribute to the former Secretary General of the African National Congress Youth League
By Rhulani Thembi Siweya, ANCYL NEC Memeber
Last night as I was about to retire to bed, I received the sad news of the passing away of our former ANC YL Secretary General, Comrade Sindiso Magaqa. Once more, I send my heartfelt condolences to his wife, children, the family as whole, his comrades and friends. Indeed, death has robbed us.
Comrade Sindiso Magaqa was a true product of the ANC YL, very militant, radical, vibrant and fearless. He was part of the ANC YL leadership that made politics to be fashionable with young people, with slogans such as ‘The ANC rocks n it’s cool to be part of it’. He grew up in the structures of the ANC YL, from being a Regional Chairperson of Harry Gwala for 3 consecutive terms, he later got elected as the Deputy Provincial Chairperson in KZN and later served as the Secretary General of the 24th NEC that was elected in 2011 at Gallagher Estates. That’s demonstrated that Comrade Magaqa was a true reflection of the ANC YL slogan – fight, learn and produce!
Comrade Magaqa was part of a generation of young people in the ANC that responded to clarion call by Frantz Fanon, that ‘each generation, out of relative obscurity, must discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it’.
Comrade Magaqa as inspired by the 1944 Generation of the ANC YL, such as Nelson Mandela, OR Tambo, Walter Sisulu, AP Mda, Robert Sobukwe and many more who demanded ‘freedom in their lifetime’; he was part of a generation that identified its mission as ‘Economic freedom in our lifetime’ of course like many generations before him, Comrade Magaqa and his generation paid the highest political price for demanding radical change, he was
charged and suspended by the ANC leadership in 2012, and the rest is history.
Comrade Magaqa demonstrated that indeed he is a true product of the movement and loyal to course, despite being victimized and purged by his own movement, he remained loyal to the African National Congress in the
most difficult times, he died being a cadre of the ANC. As the current leadership, we can learn a lot from him, that the organization is bigger than individuals and discipline means that we accept decisions of the organization, even if we don’t agree with them.
I, personally, as a current ANC YL NEC member, elected at the 25th National
Congress in 2015, will be the first to individually admit that we failed comrade Magaqa and his generation. We failed to continue with the momentum of demanding economic freedom in our lifetime; maybe it was as a result of fear at times of being purged by the elders in the ANC leadership. I will use this opportunity to personally reflect as an individual and leader of the ANC YL, on whether it’s worth it for me, to continue being part of a structure that is tasked with advocating for the interests of young
people, but doing something completely different (serving the interests of elders in the ANC)
True to the words of Nikolai Ostrovsky that “Man’s dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame of a mean
and petty past; so live that, dying, he might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world──the fight for the liberation of mankind”, Cde Magaqa gave all his life, all his strength to the finest cause in all the world – the fight for the liberation of mankind. Rest in Peace Comrade Sindiso Magaqa, a fearless fighter for Economic freedom! We will continue fighting for Economic freedom!