Songezo Madiba Mjongile

Activist • Revolutionary • Leader

Songezo was a gifted soul, a brilliant mind, a humble human being and an ever-joyful person. He never shied away from a challenge and embraced tackling intractable challenge with vigour and determination. He had a big heart and was deeply passionate about the things that mattered to him the most. He was engaging, brutally honest and stood firm on his beliefs even when others held opposing views.


  • September 2020

    Activist • Revolutionary • Leader





Humile, the wife of Comrade Songezo and the children;
Comrade Songezo’s mother and farther and the siblings;
The entire family, relatives and loved ones;
NEC members, here present;
The Interim Provincial Committee of the ANC in the Western Cape and all ANC leaders at all levels of our movement;
Veterans of our struggle for liberation;
The leadership of the SACP, COSATU and SANCO;
Current and former leaders of the ANC Youth League;
Leaders of the ANC Women’s League;
Current and former leaders of COSAS, SASCO, the YCL and the broader Progressive Youth Alliance;
Comrades and friends:
Here we are, this afternoon, at this somber moment to salute and bid farewell to a great and dynamic leader of our movement: Comrade Songezo Mjongile; uMadiba - who has left us too soon, with much pain that is difficult to bear.
I take this opportunity on behalf of the African National Congress – the revolutionary movement to which Comrade Songezo pledged his life, serving selflessly with every ounce of energy he had – to convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Humile, and the children, his parents, the family, relatives and loved ones, as well as to his comrades and friends.
Although death has robbed us of this priceless cadre and servant of our people, in unison we are today saying; death has not defeated him, for he has run his course to the last mile!
With singleness of purpose we ask; Death where is thy sting?
While Comrade Songezo may have lost the battle against cancer, he has done a lot to advance the struggle for the total emancipation of the people of South Africa.
Now that he is gone, we are poorer; our revolution is poorer; and our movement is poorer.  
To the family we say: Akwehlanga lungehlanga!
Comrade Songezo has fought a good fight.
The massive outpouring of condolences we have seen following his passing, bears testimony to the reality that he touched many lives, in a positive way.  
Though his life was cut short, at a time when we were still expecting so much from him, he leaves behind a proud legacy.
As an activist and revolutionary, Comrade Songezo was dependable and principled.
He executed any task given to him with absolute commitment; sparing no energy nor effort.
He had boundless energy!
Comrade Songezo literally grew up within our movement.
He was a child of the ANC!
He joined the struggle for liberation at a very young age as an activist of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS).
Because of his bravery, his commitment and his incisive political thinking he was elected to lead this mighty and militant student organization as its President in 1993.
Under his leadership collective, COSAS continued to be an important voice in the education struggles of our country.
It was Comrade Songezo and his generation that led and won important victories in the struggle against the payment of examination fees and the banning of corporal punishment.
Their efforts led to the enactment of the National School’s Act; which took our nation further along the path of making a decisive and permanent break with apartheid education and its legacy.
Comrade Songezo went on to be part of the leadership collective of a vibrant ANC Youth League.
As a leader of the ANC Youth League, Comrade Songezo was among those who pioneered and championed youth development and empowerment.
In this regard, we credit him and his generation, for the establishment of the National Youth Commission, the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, the South African Youth Council and the National Youth Development Agency.
The Youth League that Comrade Songezo and his collective led continued its historic role of being a feeder organization of radical and progressive ideas, as well as leadership to the ANC.
It was a Youth League that understood that the continued existence and relevance of the ANC depended on a vibrant and robust ANC Youth League.
It worked hard to mobilize young people behind the objectives of the ANC.
It was also unrelenting in its efforts to influence the policy positions and overall direction of the ANC.
Comrade Songezo’s revolutionary zeal and commitment saw him being elected into the leadership structures of the ANC in this province; including as a provincial secretary.
This allowed him to serve in the National Executive Committee of our movement.
Those of us who served with him in the NEC can attest to the fact that he was unambiguous in advocating for the course of young people, as well as all communities he represented as a leader.
We will always remember Comrade Songezo for his high quality political engagements.
He never shied away from a debate.
His arguments were always methodical. He always applied his mind thoroughly to issues.
He infused theory with practice; fully understating that the two are interlinked.
Comrade Songezo was deeply immersed in the traditions of our movement.
He always acted with utmost discipline and loyalty. He was hardworking.
He also fully appreciated that decisions of a collective need to be respected and defended, even by those who initially differed with them.
Comrade Songezo was part of that generation of young people who contributed not only to the struggle for national liberation, but also were pioneers and trail blazers in the struggle for the economic emancipation of the people of South Africa.
He understood that political freedom without economic freedom is meaningless.
He was part of those young people of our movement who not only theorized about the struggle for economic freedom, but were able to take practical steps to advance it.
Comrade Songezo lived his life to the fullest. He struck the correct balance between his family life and his political life.
He was also able to build strong social relations that cut across society. In doing this, he practiced what Marx said when he defined the essence of man as; “… no abstraction inherent in each single individual; [but] in reality, an ensemble of the social relations.”  
Comrades, we know that towards his last days, Comrade Songezo expressed a wish to contribute towards the renewal of the ANC and the success of the National Democratic Revolution.
On the 29th of August this year, even as his health was deteriorating, he called for the intensification of the struggle for the total emancipation of the people of South Africa.
In particular, he called for the implementation of the Freedom Charter.
He also called for action by our movement to win back the trust of the people of South Africa.
He further called for the intensification of efforts towards Africa’s development.
We must also never forget his words when he said;  
“We need to change gear now, same as the Madiba generation did. The ANC can’t die in our hands. The future of our people depends on it. There is no individual who is bigger than the ANC. It is either we save the ANC or we save individuals and sink it. The real question to me is: what is the mission of our generation?”
Comrades, those of us whom comrade Songezo leaves behind, must take his words as our binding command and marching orders for the future.
Accordingly, in honour of Comrade Songezo, let us today declare boldly that; we will do everything necessary, sparing no effort, to contribute to the renewal of the ANC and the ultimate success of the National Democratic Revolution.
In giving us these marching orders, Comrade Songezo knew that the success of the National Democratic Revolution – whose end goal is to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa – depends on the emergence of a renewed and united ANC.
It is only a renewed and united ANC that will be able to win the war against poverty, unemployment and inequality – a war that has been made even harder and more complex by the COVID-19 crisis.
It is also a renewed and united ANC that will defend and deepen the gains of the past 26 years of freedom and democracy.
We need a renewed and united ANC in order to win the war on crime and corruption in both the public and private sector.
Furthermore, a renewed and united ANC will be able to effectively lead society towards a decisive victory in the ongoing effort to defeat gender based violence, femicide and the abuse of women, young girls and children.
As directed by Comrade Songezo, we must act now to save the ANC, lest it dies on our hands, and the gains of our revolution are reversed.
Comrades, let me also reiterate that the renewal of the ANC will not happen without a vibrant, strong and robust ANC Youth League.
Accordingly, one of our immediate tasks, once again in honour of Comrade Songezo, is to begin in earnest with the work of rebuilding structures of the ANC Youth League.
Yong people themselves must be at the fore-front and at the cutting edge of rebuilding the ANC Youth League.
We need an ANC Youth League that will be effective in executing its important tasks: of championing youth struggles and mobilizing young people behind the objectives of the ANC.
We need an ANC Youth League that will be at the forefront of all struggles of young people everywhere in our country.
The Youth League must be a home for professional young people; working young people, young people in suburbs, townships, and rural areas; young people at school and in universities; young people in sport and in the arts; as well as young people in places of worship.
We also need an ANC Youth League that will continue to be the political preparatory school of the ANC and a repository of fresh ideas that will benefit the ANC.
Equally, and like the youth of 1944 that formed the ANC Youth League, 76 years ago, young people of today must lead the renewal of the ANC.
They must infuse into the ANC new ideas and a new energy. They must keep the ANC relevant.
In line with Comrade Songezo’s last wishes, the renewal of the ANC must include deliberate action, led by young people, aimed at closing the social distance between our movement and the people of South Africa.
The ANC must remain relevant and responsive to the conditions of our people; it must speak the language of the people.
The renewal of the ANC, must also include the restoration of the historic values of our movement: values of hard work, honesty, accountability, unity, selflessness, sacrifice, discipline, democratic debate, criticism and self-criticism.
Renewal must also include ensuring that the ANC remains a true Parliament of the People of South Africa; united in their diversity.
To renew the ANC will further require that we do everything necessary to build an ethical movement.  
Comrades, it is fitting that as we bid farewell to this revolutionary and organic intellectual, we draw from the words of the Cuban national hero, freedom fighter, poet and intellectual; Jose Marti who in one of his Simple Verses has the following to say:
“From this world I will depart,
And the natural door will try:
Green leaves will cover the cart
On which I am taken to die.
Don’t in darkness let me lie
With traitors to come undone:
I am good and as the good die,
I will die face to the sun!”
We will not let Comrade Songezo in darkness lie [for] he has been good to us; and as the good die, he has died face to the sun!
Lala ngoxolo Madiba!
We will pick up your fallen spear!
VIVA ANC Youth League!
Thank you!

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