Higher Education Minister and SACP secretary-general Blade Nzimande has used his mother Nozipho Nzimande’s funeral to warn against the scourge of people who are selling their souls and dignity “for a pence”.
Nzimande told mourners who had come to pay their last respects at his mother’s funeral in Edendale in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday that one of the most important things she had taught him was that he must never sell his dignity.
“I will forever be indebted to her. She taught me that your dignity as a person and a human being is not for sale and cannot be sold no matter how poor you are.”
Nzimande said this is what drew him to the SACP.
“And we need this thing now even more because we have this problem in our country of people who are selling their souls and their dignity for a pence.”
He said one thing that he celebrated about his mother was that she educated him. Her mother‚ who earned R27 a month‚ sent him to the University of Zululand with a first fee instalment of R496 borrowed from loan sharks.
“One thing I celebrate about my mother is that she took me to school. It’s not like a tender. You get a tender today and you lose it tomorrow. But no one can take education from you.”
Nozipho Nzimande‚ who lived in Dambuza‚ Edendale‚ outside Pietermaritzburg passed away on Sunday at the age of 90.
Her funeral was attended by the political and business elite which included ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe‚ Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi‚ Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu‚ Cosatu president S’dumo Mathe and Director-general in the Presidency Dr Cassius Lubisi.
Also in attendance were KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu and his predecessors Senzo Mchunu and Sbu Ndebele‚ businessmen Sandile Zungu and Moses Tembe.
A staunch Orlando Pirates supporter like her son‚ Nozipho Nzimande’s send off was also graced by the Buccaneers choir who performed a few songs on stage. Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza also sent a letter of condolence which was read out by one of Blade’s sons.
She was described as an ANC loyalist till the end‚ a humble person and a devoted Catholic.
Mantashe‚ who spoke on behalf of the tripartie alliance‚ told mourners there was no need “for us to weep but we need to celebrate her life”.
One of her grandchildren said she was a teacher till her death.
“We lost an institution of love‚ an institution of wisdom‚ an institution of perseverance and guidance.”
She leaves behind two children Blade and his sister Mano‚ 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren‚ and one great-great-grandchild.