In Botswana, David Sibeko -- one of the three leaders of the Pan African Congress Party (PAC) -- was buried in exile on Sunday (1 July).
In Botswana, David Sibeko -- one of the three leaders of the Pan African Congress Party (PAC) -- was buried in exile on Sunday (1 July). After spending seven months in detention for anti-apartheid activities, David Sibeko fled South Africa in 1963. But he continued his anti-apartheid stand in exile, eventually rising to the executive of the Pan African Congress...a party banned in South Africa. In the last years internal quarrelling developed in the PAC, climaxing in mid-June, when Sibeko was gunned down in Tanzania, Eighteen young South Africans including some PAC members, were charged with his murder.
SYNOPSIS: PAC members demonstrated against David Sibeko's assasination before the funeral service. Sibeko's family and political colleagues, by bringing his body to Gaberone, were able to bury him only a few miles (kilometres) from the South African border. Two thousand mourners came from the townships of South Africa, and from all parts of Africa, Europe and North America.
Sibeko's four children, dressed in military fatigues, led the procession, his eldest son carrying the flag of the Pan African Congress, his daughter, home from her studies Ottawa's Carleton Univerity alongside. Many of the mourners were, like David Sibeko, South African exiles.
The United States Ambassador to Botswana also attended as did representatives of black African states and the Organisation of African Unity.
Sibeko's assasination brought into the open, ideological rivalries within the so-called "African Liberation Movement" and the mourners were candid in acknowledging the split. But speaker after speaker said they hoped that Sibeko's death might heal the rifts and direct the PAC back towards its fight against racism.
As the last rites were performed at the dusty cometary on the outskirts on Gaberone, the assembly sang an anthem to the country they want to build from the South Africa of today. There were black power salutes, and pledges to eliminate all vestiges of colonialism in southern Africa.
In death David Sibeko was hailed as a martyr to that cause.