Programme Director, Cde Mondli Gungubele;
Bishop Msibi, Senior Pastor Ntlhoro and other Pastors of Church of Warriors of Christ;
Our dear sister Kgatiso, the children and the family of Magagula and Mashile;
Members of the PEC, many RECs from different regions, Zonal and Branch leaders;
The many leaders of the Alliance and the Leagues here present;
MECs, Mayors, MMCs and all Councillors, MPs and MPLs;
Comrades and Friends of Chilly Magagula;
We meet on this day of destiny to bid farewell to a fearless freedom fighter and tireless spiritual warrior whose entire life was dedicated to serving the people, movement and God the Almighty.
We have come here with mixed feelings. We cannot hide the deep sense of sadness and gaping wounds in our heavy hearts. We cannot hide our anger and frustration at God that such a productive life committed comrade was taken away from us so soon, when there is still so much work of Renewal and Imvuselelo lying ahead.
Our dear sister and comrade Kgatiso and the children, we have no doubt that our sadness and sorrow are nothing compared to the pain and agony that has visited you since the fateful Tuesday when your beloved husband and father succumbed to illness. Only God knows how to heal the unique pain associated with the loss of a loved one.
Even in our solemn sadness and deep anger, we cannot hide the spark of joy in our tearful eyes. Our joy stems from the full knowledge that the 42 years of Chilly`s life are decorated with enormous accomplishments and outstanding achievements that very few seventy and eighty year-olds can match. This was a life worth living, a life worth celebrating indeed!
Since Thursday, we have heard so many testimonies of the great life and sterling contributions of Comrade Chilly towards making this world a better place than he found it. I would like to add a few pages of my own testimony to Comrade Chilly`s Book of Life.
An accomplished revolutionary!
The best way to sum up Comrade Chilly`s life is to say he was an accomplished revolutionary in the fullest sense of the word: he did everything to change this world in order to leave it a better place than he found it.
Comrade Chilly was an embodiment of qualities that are rarely found in one person - a fearless freedom fighter, astute educator, skilful organizer, unifier, problem-solver and tireless spiritual warrior.
Comrade Chilly the Fearless Freedom Fighter
Comrade Chilly was not a coward. Like many fearless youth of his time, he responded to the clarion call of President Oliver Tambo to render apartheid unworkable and make the country ungovernable.
He joined both COSAS and SAYCO, the foremost organizations of the militant and revolutionary youth. In the 1980s, he immersed himself fully in youth mobilisation to ensure that the youth become the "shock troopers of the revolution", in response to Comrade Peter Mokaba`s call.
He was a brave Young Lion whose blistering roars struck deep fear in the enemy camp, while drawing loud cheers from the people`s camp. Comrade Chilly was feared by the enemy and loved by his people.
Once apartheid was defeated, he turned his attention to the work of building sound and strong people`s organizations under conditions of freedom and democracy. In this work, he was as dedicated and disciplined as he was during the fight against the evil system of apartheid.
Chilly the Educator, Organiser, Unifier, Disciplinarian and Problem-solver
I am certain that a lot of comrades have only known Comrade Chilly as the skilful organizer. What is less known is that Comrade Chilly was one of the best trade union educators in COSATU in the mid-90s. Having met Comrade Chilly in the youth movement in the late 80s and early 90s, I was personally very pleased to meet him in my first COSATU Educators Forum meeting which I attended as the National Education Secretary of NEHAWU.
Comrade Chilly is among the rare species of comrades who were both union educators and organizers at the same time. I still believe that the best organizer is the one who can train and educate the recruits and ensure they understand organization. The best educator must be able to organize people around issues that affect them.
Many of you who met Comrade Chilly later know him as a quiet comrade, a man of few words. I agree that lately he became a man of few wise words. But there is other side of Chilly, the educator that may not know. In the COSATU Educators Forum, he was one of most gifted and persuasive speakers when we had many heated debates on class struggle. He could also be very stubborn and argumentative on issues of theory and organization.
As COSATU educators, we spent many hours arguing and agonizing about the best methods and content of political education of shop stewards. As a young breed of union educators in the mid-90s, we saw ourselves as organic intellectuals whose task is to impart the profound knowledge and theory of Marxism-Leninism to ordinary workers on the shop floor so that they can use such knowledge liberate themselves.
We argued among ourselves at the time that not enough political education was done among workers. Comrade Chilly was among a core of educators from NUM, NUMSA, NEHAWU, T & G and FAWU who worked with the SACP Political Committee to revive political education in many COSATU unions. We also pioneered the formation of DITSELA, the first trade union training institute in post-apartheid South Africa.
Unfortunately, our political education work among workers was interrupted when many union educators where displaced by the deployment to government or the ANC.
When I was deployed to come and work with the structures of the movement in Gauteng province in May 2000, Comrade Chilly came to brief me about the fact that the problems in FAWU have resulted in him being removed from his full-time position as the Regional Secretary of FAWU. Knowing Comrade Chilly, I knew that he had done nothing wrong in the union.
When we lost Comrade Nteyi, another brilliant organizer of our movement, in June 2000, I could think of no better organiser who could occupy this distinguished position of Provincial Organising Secretary than Comrade Chilly Magagula. He was deployed to this position which he held with discipline and distinction until his untimely death.
Over the past decade, I know of no colleague and comrade has left such indelible footprints on the grassroots structures of our movement in Gauteng as Comrade Chilly has done - the branches of the ANC, the Leagues and the Alliance.
He led the realignment of Branches from township-wide to ward-based branches and helped us to rebuild the movement in our province. Most of you don`t know that Comrade Chilly was the main architect of many organizational innovations such as idea of a ward profile, guidelines for auditing membership and branch AGMs and guidelines to ensure proper preparations for AGMs and conferences. Most of these practices we pioneered in Gauteng have become national norms and standards in the ANC. This is a great tribute to the abilities of Comrade Chilly Magagula.
Many of you do not know that Comrade Chilly was the main architect of the new way of mobilization in the ANC. The bus lists and registration of passengers has become a new approach - we know with precision who and how many people will be at the stadium before the day of the activity. We can fill the biggest stadium and several venues at the same time. This has become a national approach to mobilization.
He was the pillar of strength when we launched the first wave of Imvuselelo Campaign. He will be glad to know that Imvuselelo is now being re-launched a major national campaign to renew our movement as we move to the Centenary. President Zuma will launch Imvuselelo in our province in few weeks as part of the One Million Members Campaign.
As Gauteng, we have vowed to go to the 2012 Centenary Conference as a 300 000 membership strong province. We shall dedicate our Recruitment Campaign him - Chilly Magagula Membership Recruitment Campaign. We shall do this knowing that Comrade Chilly would have spared no energy or effort in ensuring that we achieve the goal of building a big province, with a conscious and disciplined membership.
In his latter days, Comrade Chilly increasingly became an embodiment of the core values of the ANC. He was paragon of humility. He was the unifier who always sought to bring comrades together, not a factionalist. He was a builder and problem-solver, not a destroyer. He was a hard worker who avoided short cuts and an easy way. He was a good listener, who only spoke in meetings when he felt something profound was missing. His interventions in meetings were always short and to the point, full of wisdom.
Comrade Chilly served all the different PECs loyally and diligently. He understood that as a full-time functionary, he needed to be loyal to the organization and work with leadership elected by conferences. He refused to be drawn into siding with different groups during the leadership contests in the run-up to and at the conferences. This is a professional ethic all ANC staff members should internalize.
Chilly the Spiritual Warrior
Comrade Chilly was not only a good political activist. He also served his church with distinction. He was devout and born-again Christian. He never saw a contradiction between serving God and serving the movement. In fact, he understood that both the ANC and the church are about serving the people. There is no better way of serving God than dedicate your life to the service of others, especially the poor, workers and the most vulnerable sectors of the population.
It is for this reason that we are burying Comrade Chilly in manner resembling the life he lived. We sing freedom songs about our struggle of which he was an integral part and sing hymns to praise God for his blessings. God Bless Africa!
Chilly has given a full Report on the state of affairs in the movement
I`m confident that on his arrival in heaven, Chilly gave a full report on the state of the nation and the organization, including on the outcome of the NGC. He has given this report to our forebears who were honourable men and women who dedicated their own lives to service of our people. After giving his report, he answered a number of questions from these men and women.
He answered many questions from Pixley Seme, Sefako Makgatho, Chief Luthuli and Oliver Tambo about the work of veterans in preserving the historic mission and core values of the ANC.
He surely answered questions from Charlotte Maxeke, Lillian Ngoyi, Ruth First and Hellen Joseph about the work of our movement and government on women`s emancipation and gender equality. He also answered questions on the work around building a non-racial society.
He answered questions from Chris Hani about the work of MKMVA and the overall progress we are making in building a society where there is peace, security and comfort, a society free from hunger, homelessness and disease.
He undoubtedly answered questions from Moses Kotane, Josephine Mpama, Yusuf Dadoo and Joe Slovo on the state of the SACP and the progress towards building a society free from exploitation by one class by another.
He answered questions from John Gaetsiwe, Steven Dlamini and Elijah Barayi about the state of the trade unions and conditions of workers in the democratic South Africa.
He has answered questions from Patrick Molawa, Peter Mokaba and Parks Mankahlana about the state of the youth movement and progress on educating the youth of our country so that they can become a shining beacon of our future.
Lastly, he questions from Steve Tshwete, Nteyi and Norman Ngwenya about the state of organizing nationally, provincially and regionally. Of course, he acknowledged that he decided to leave us the day on which the PWC was starting its visit to branches in this region of Ekurhuleni. Already, he knew the outcome of the visit.
In typical Chilly`s style, all the questions were answered honestly, briefly and accurately giving a true account of the state of the revolution and organisation.
I`m sure that after answering all the questions, Comrade Chilly concluded with the following words: "Mission accomplished. I have run my race. I have served my people. I have served my family. I have served my God."
Comrade Chilly, we are all here today to bear testimony to the accuracy of the report you have gave to our forebears on your arrival in heaven on Tuesday 12th October 2010. We agree with you completely. You have indeed accomplished your mission. You have fought a good fight.
To the Magagula and Mashile Families, the Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC would like thank you heartily today for having shared Chilly with us. He spent most of the time with us, away from you. This family is in the roll call of many families that have contributed to the freedom and democracy we enjoy today.
Comrade Chilly Magagula`s name is permanently engraved in our hearts and his legacy will live forever in the ongoing campaigns to renew our movement and build a society envisioned in the Freedom Charter. His wife and children are part of the bigger ANC family. They cannot and should suffer when we are al still around.
As long as the ANC lives and leads, Comrade Chilly`s wife and children will be given a helping hand to get on with their normal lives. The ANC shall do everything in its power to ensure his children`s education is not interrupted due to lack of finances.
We owe this debt of gratitude to you Comrade Chilly for your selfless sacrifices!
Farewell Fearless Freedom Fighter!
Hamba kahle Makhambane!
Lala ngoxolo Mthombeni!