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Oration by Fikile Mbalula On The Passing Of Gomolemo Archie Lucas

Death the mighty hunter, has struck down in the witching hours of life, in the vigor of health, in a sudden and most heart-rending manner, Gomolemeo Archie Lucas has abruptly succumbed to its strike!

Like an eagle, it lunged from the sky, and when it rustle back up again it had taken Gomolemo with it.

Firmly seized in its jaws it disappeared with him to another world far beyond the comprehension of the living.

Like a ferocious lightning bolt from a clear blue sky, Comrade Archie Lucas has been washed away.

His body lies forlon and inept wrapped in the clothing of the grave and awaits to be conveyed to the charnel-house appointed to all the living once to die.

Death, dressed as a matron in a mourning veil, concealed with black wings, without sounding a warning bell, has once more claimed dominion over life.

Like a thief, it arrived when the dawn broke in its desperate attempt to signal the start of a new day, even as the night sought to claim sovereignty over both day and night, both the past and the future.

Since the morning of this past Monday, we had to deal with a painful truth that we all live on borrowed time, the painful truth that there can be no life without death.

That day will forever be ingrained in our memory codes as the day Kimberley wept.

The ceaseless cries of anguish could be heard from all areas of Kimberley.

From the fringes of the busy township life to the harsh and unbearable silence of the remote and far flung cattle rearing settlements inhabited by migrant workers.

The mountains, the glades, the downhill slopes, the rivers, the valleys, the wondrous beautiful vast expanse of Kimberley are mourning.

The surreal splendor that surrounds Northern Cape is in shock.

The glowing embers of the autumn trees have suddenly gone dark.

The colorful leaves that glides down in a whirling course have shrunk.

The joyous and enchanting chorus of the wind’s beautiful song that stirs wild flowers into a rhythmic dance, has gone mute.

The haunting and eerie wailing refrains have all been deserted.

The dark clouds with thundering sounds of lighting and growing anger have descended.

Since that fateful day of 13 January 2020, the clouds have lost their colors, the birds sing no more, the wind refuses to whisper, Kimberley and it’s people cannot stop crying, no consolation can minimize the impact of his passing for he served her with distinction.

As the sun sets, as the birds fly in dusk, as tears of despair fall endlessly on our cheeks and motherland, as minds grapple with the suddenness of tragedy, our spirits have sunk under the unbearable weight of an unexpected and numbing shock.

Kimberley, his birth place is weeping.

She weeps because a glittering colossus among the roaring young lions of Peter Mokaba has been silenced.

She weeps because an advanced detachment of “Masupatsela a Walter Sisulu”, a revolutionary compass has been broken.

She weeps because the keenest blade on the field of Northern Cape is broken!

She weeps for a son of the Soil.

She weeps for the hero of the city,

A distinguished freedom fighter, a patriot and a bearer of hope for our country’s bitter struggle against the demon of white domination has departed.

When we consign the mortal remains of Archie to earth, the common mother of all, we will do so secured in the knowledge that what we place in the ground is now no more a man but a seed which, after winter of our discontent, will come forth again to meet us.

We will certainly know him then for what he was and is, a geneuine freedom fighter who valued freedom to the extend he was prepared to put himself to any inconvenience to gain it for others.

We gather here today as family, friends and comrades of Archie, to mourn his passing but above all to celebrate his life and to give thanks for it.

We have come to remember and honour him, a man who gave his youthful life to his country and to his community, but also to remember and cherish him as a generous friend, and wise counsellor.

To comrade Archie, I say to we have not come here to cover your grave, we have come to salute you, for what you were.

A valiant shock-troop of our revolution who bequeathed victories to his people.

A great dreamer, who forged a new reality in our country.

As mourners, we are here in bright sunshine to bow our heads and dip our banners in a deep moment of reflection.

Having to say something on your burial is a difficult task but something must said and told, for it is the character that maketh the man!

In recollecting all your unique attributes, I am certain that I speak on behalf of all your friends and comrades.

We have grown to know you as an exceedingly courageous, inherently honest, highly intelligent, extremely loyal, humble and above all, a soft spoken introverted personality.

There are no visible shortcuts to your profile in local and national ethos.

Driven towards achieving something finer than the ordinary by a passionate belief in something, and to which you have always stuck, Archie you have always known a thing or two about persistence and hard work.

You have remained faithful, for the past decades of your life and more to to your political, physical and spiritual philosophies of life.

You have always kept focus and the results are the testaments of the rarity of your kind, an awesome phenom in our socio-political skies.

In knitting together the million little things that you did that define you as a friend and trustworthy comrade, the biography we have written in our hearts and engraved on our minds tells the story of a man of courage.

It speaks to us of a fine thinker.

It coveys the reality of a man of action.

It paints a picture of a person of loyalty to his cause, his principles, his fellow comrades and all his people.

It reminds us of the personal sacrifices you made.

It informs all who cares to know, that you are human because you could laugh and cry.

You could rejoice and despair. You could play and work.

You could love and could hate.

Most of us have come to know your life as characterized by high sense of duty, by a steady purpose to do that which you believe to be right at all times.

Some of us have differed with your opinions and find fault with your judgement, but not with your integrity for when you took your position after a mature deliberation, you kept it.

Similarly, I must confess that I have observed a few contrasting qualities in you.

I have known you as a comrade who knew no trickery, whose heart is transparent deep down in which one could see fully every rooted tender and sympathetic virtue.

The genuine attributes of selfless service coursed through every fiber of your being.

You were at times cheerful and yet withdrawn, sociable and at times peaceful in your loneliness, joyful and inspiring.

You could be aggressive in asserting your beliefs but you respect those with whom you differ.

Your were at times firm but never petty.

You were times single minded but never malicious.

In your rich and inspiring pedigree, a life of significant milestones can be condensed in a few words.

A loyal comrade,

A caring brother,

A political icon,

An exemplary functionary,

A youth leader

A senior comrade of note in youth struggles,

A worthy friend and above all, a genuine unrepentant patriot.

As a patriot, your voice of reason resounds with the force of of substance inspiring in national consciousness.

Your myth is hidden in your consistency and power to reinvent yourself, time after time, like the mythical bird, the phoenix, which burns itself in a nest of cinnamon twigs at the end of a life cycle but springs forth from same tepid ashes of time as a new inspired phoenix.

Your life has shown that whatever a man sets his eyes on, so shall he achieve.

You came into spotlight as a youth leader within the ranks of the ANC YL , and shown brightly on your generation, a light that has never gone dim or extinguished.

The youth of country felt the warmth of your leadership flames and activism as a leader of in all the structures of the youth movement.

As a descendent of a social generation of a young lions led by Peter Mokaba, You walked with great zeal in the footsteps of outstanding leaders of the Youth Movement.

Leaders who had the foresight to recognise that there would be many challenging times ahead but possessed the nerve and the confidence in them to meet and overcome these challenges.

They brought clarity to the purpose of our struggle, constantly reminding our youth during difficult times of the struggle that we must Fight, Produce and Learn!

You Comrade Charlie, fortified a platform for the youth of our country irrespective of their political affiliation to shout in one accordance and say;

“We are the future, no one can stop us”.

Wherever you were in your life, you truly resembled the keenest blade on the field of our country, a shepherd of our collective hopes and dreams.

Today, I speak among your peers, Malusi Gigaba, Songezo Mjongile, Alvin Swartland, Zamani, Gareth, Zikalala, Nomfanelo.

All of your generation is here to bid you farewell.

Indeed, our country is bereaved of a valuable and much valued citizen whose absence will be difficult to fill with equal endowments.

O, how true that the mysterious roll of human destiny, written in heaven but slowly unfolded, line after line, by the unerring hand of time has many things in reserve for us all, all of which are little dreams.

In a ceaseless relay race of death, you Comrade Archie an illustrious son of the soil, have received the summons to join the innumerable caravan that moves to that mysterious realm where each shall take his chamber in the silent halls of death.

Comrade Gomolemo’s death ended an era but not his life’s work.

He has left us all much to do, that is to further prosectute the struggle to expand the frontiers of a national democratic society to which he aspired.

In celebrating his life, we will write Gomolemo’s deeds in our hearts and we shall tell them to the young, to those yet to be born, that once in our lives we were gifted with the life of a luminary who shone his bright light over us, an activist whose life was built on conscience and decorum.

On these hallowed grounds of Kimberley, we will erect a monument as a fitting climax to your glorious life, so that this chapter of grief in our national history which has now closed, will open a new page in our onward march towards a new society.

Mountains of our country weep not for this departed hero, but hold high your heads in pride that this remote part of our land has produced a patriot whose life has been enshrined in the hearts of all who adore freedom.

Let the tears shed by the rivers irrigate the plains of the blessed soil of our country so that the realms of this hero might become a reality.

Borrowing from the writings of Nikolai Ostrovsky, in his novel, “How the Steel was Tempered he wrote”, he posit thus;

“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”

You Comrade Archie, I have no doubt in mind that with every ounce of strength in your youthful body, indeed you gave your all.

Yusuf Dadoo, delivering a eulogy to SACP General Secretary Moses Kotane posited;

“ ... in the history of every nation, there arise men and women who when they depart, leave an indelible mark on its people and the tools with wich to build a better life”

Indeed, You comrade Gomolemo have unselfishly left an indelible mark on us and the tools with which to build a better life.

Long Live the Spirit of Comrade Gomolemo Archie Lucas Long Live!


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