Trade unionist’s remains moved from Port Elizabeth to birthplace Tsomo
The reburial of struggle icon Vuyisile Mini took place in Mhlahlane village in Tsomo on Friday.
One could tell he was a man who fought for peace and equality, not war.
The repatriation of his remains from Port Elizabeth, which his family had been requesting for years, did not happen without resistance.
Though Mini was born in Tsomo, the people of PE had a sense of affinity to his legacy as his activism in politics had manifested in the city.
Mini was a South African Congress of Trade Unions secretary, a member of the ANC and of uMkhonto we Sizwe.
He was killed 56 years ago, when he was hung with Wilson Kaningo and Zamekile Mkaba by the apartheid regime.
The hangings, which shattered many, took place at Pretoria Central Prison on November 6 1964.
He would have been 100 years old this month.
Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said: “It is fitting that the EC government decided to honour Mini who died on this day at age 44.”
She said she was happy that justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola was preserving his legacy.
She encouraged the younger generation to record the historical stories of the country which, she said, were subject to distortion.
Lamola defined Mini as a champion of the struggle.
“He knew he could be arrested, tortured, and judicially executed, but these factors could not deter him from fighting for a just and democratic country.
“His was a noble cause that many of our leaders were prepared to lay down their lives for,” Lamola said.
He urged the younger generations to draw inspiration from Mini’s bravery and commitment to the struggle when confronted with challenges.
Easter Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane said the government understood the pain and destruction of Mini’s family who had lost their loved one to the apartheid regime.
“We agreed to assist the family to bring the remains of Mini home. We want them to have closure.”
He said there were plans to name the maths and science centre in Cofimvaba after Vuyisile Mini.
Mini’s firstborn, Xolile Mini
, 71, said a few days before his father died he visited his family in Tsomo.
“He knew his life was going to be taken away. He came home for the last time and went to church on Sunday where he asked the congregation to pray for him. On Monday he went back to Pretoria.”
He said living without his father had caused a lot of suffering. “Life became tough for me.
“I sacrificed school at an early age to work.
“I had to play the role of a father to assist my mother bring up my younger siblings,” he said.
With the legacy of his father now established in Chris Hani, he was confident that greater things would follow suit.
He described his father as a humble man who was direct and unwavering in his decisions.
These were traits he had inherited from Mini which he said he would carry with him throughout his life.