ANC Gauteng Province dips its banner in tribute and honour to a stalwart of our national democratic revolution, Comrade Lawrance Phokanoka, popularly known as Comrade “Phokes”.
Comrade Phokes, who was based in the Limpopo Province, passed away on the afternoon of Thursday 14th July 2005. He contributed a lot to the struggle for freedom in our country. He also contributed to the reconstruction and development of a democratic South Africa. He was a member and leader of the ANC and SACP until his last day on earth. He was the Deputy Commissar of Comrade Martin Chris Thembisile Hani in the famous Umkhonto We Sizwe’s (MK’s) Luthuli Detachment which jointly with the Zimbabwe Peoples Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) waged heroic battles in Wankie and Spolilo in the then Rhodesia in the late 1960’s. These battles were aimed at opening the route to South Africa through Zimbabwe for trained MK guerillas to rebuild the political and military structures of our movement after the clampdown of the early sixties and arrests of Rivonia. He was captured, brought back to apartheid South Africa, charged and sentenced to many years on Robben Island.
Both on the Island and outside, he was known for his immense knowledge of revolutionary theory, intellectual prowess, voracious reading, good debating skills and political educator. On the first day of the recently held ANC National General Council, he passionately raised on the importance of maintaining the rich culture and tradition of robust debates in the ANC and the alliance.
In his passing away, he joins a rich and brave history of great patriots and freedom fighters. This history of struggle starts with the first Khoi who fell dead from a arrow fired by the commander of the Portuguese fleet, Bartolomeu Dias when they stopped at Mossel Bay in 1488; to our traditional leaders like Moshoeshoe, Sekhukhune, Hintsa, Gungunyane and Ramabulane, who bravely fought against the taking of our land by colonialists; to 20th century leaders like Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, John Langalibalele Dube, Professor Matthews, Inkosi Albert Luthuli, Anton Musiwakhe Lembede, Lilian Ngoyi, Rahima Moosa, Oliver Reginald Tambo, Helen Joseph, Govan Mbeki, Ruth First, Wilton Mkwayi, Francis Baard, Elias Motsoaledi, Dora Tamana, Walter Sisulu, Joe Slovo, Moses Kotane, J.B Marks, Moses Mabhida, Dr Yusuf Dadoo, Chris Hani and many others. These are men and women of honour and integrity, who were not prepared to sell their dignity, their people and country.
South Africa has lost a champion of the working class. We have a revolutionary duty to take the baton of Comrade Phokes, and continue with the task of building a non racial, non sexist, united, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
Robala ka khutso mogale wa bagale!
O a kgathile tema mo ntweng ya tokologo!
Re tla phela re go gopola!
David Malemolla Makhura ANC Gauteng Provincial Secretary