Remembering the life of Songezo

Songezo Ndude minutes after sustaining the injury that would cost him his life during last years protests.

A memorial service for Songezo Ndude, who was killed during clashes with police during last year’s housing protest, was held at the Iziko Lobomi community centre last weekend.

Mr Ndude, 26, died in Groote Schuur Hospital on July 4 last year, a day after allegedly being struck by a rubber bullet during the clashes.

A post-mortem found that his death resulted from blunt force trauma.

Disgruntled Imizamo Yethu residents protested the first week of July over the conditions at the temporary relocation area where residents had been moved after the March 11 fire. They also demanded houses and land.

At the memorial service on Saturday July 21, friends and family of Mr Ndude, many wearing the colours of the EFF, paid tribute to their fallen comrade, hailing him as a hero in the struggle for land and housing.

Mr Ndude’s brother and leader of the EFF in Hout Bay, Mkhululi Ndude, said the death of his brother had mobilised their community in its struggle for land and better living conditions.

“Since his death, the people have begun to know more about their rights in accessing land and housing. In particular, Songezo, who was an EFF member, would have been very proud of how the EFF is growing in Hout Bay,” he said.

Mkhululi said the ANC government was taking too long to solve the land issue, despite hearings being held around the country on land expropriation without compensation.

“The ANC is blinding the people by not moving quickly enough on this,” he said.

“As fighters and revolutionaries, we hope that Songezo will be remembered by our grandchildren and their grandchildren as a legend who passed away fighting for his people. We want his name to be remembered.”

Songezo’s family, he said, still could not grasp that he was no longer with them.

“It is very painful and sad, but I also want to say that he has given me the power to keep fighting. We intend making the memorial an annual event to honour his legacy.

“It is a fact that in smaller communities like ours, the heroes don’t always receive the recognition they deserve.

“But a fighter who dies in the struggle must be treated the same as those who died in the struggle against apartheid.”

Also paying his respects at the memorial service was EFF member and prominent Cape Town advocate Thulasive Twalo.

“Songezo paid with his life, which is the ultimate sacrifice, in fighting for what he believed in. He is a hero to me, and I’m here to honour his life,” Mr Twalo said.

He said the land issue was a pressing one nationally, and Hout Bay was no exception.

“Land is scarce in Hout Bay, but we would like to see the land developed on the mountainside, as you see in some parts of Hout Bay. In my capacity as an EFF member, I will be agitating for this land reform with the Human Settlements Department.”