The Nelson Mandela Bay home of apartheid activist and clergyman Canon Mcebisi Xundu, who died last week, has been teeming with people – including ANC heavyweights – offering their condolences and giving support to the family.
Preparations for his funeral on Thursday – thousands are expected to pack New Brighton’s Nangoza Jebe Hall – are under way with a series of memorial services to take place in the Bay and Ngcobo, Transkei.
The funeral will start with a short service at the family’s Cotswold home at 7am and the main service in New Brighton from 9am.
Xundu, 80, will then be cremated at a private family service, and his ashes scattered at his home village of Manzini, near Ngcobo.
Today sees a memorial service at the Ngcobo Town Hall at 6pm, followed by a service tomorrow – venue to be confirmed – organised by the ANC.
A requiem mass will be held at New Brighton’s St Stephen’s Anglican Church at 6pm onWednesday, before Xundu is buried.
Family spokeswoman Kazeka Mashologu-Kuse said hundreds of mourners from all over the country had visited the Xundu home since his death on Wednesday.
“There is a tent in the yard with a capacity of about 300 that is filled daily, which shows how people have really been affected by his passing,” she said.
“The family is extremely grateful for the church’s support as well as that of the [ANC] and friends. It is making their pain all the more bearable.”
Xundu, a matriculant of Mthatha’s St John’s College, was ordained deacon in 1958 and priested in 1960. He served in areas including Kokstad, Tsolo, Ngcobo and Lusikisiki as well as KwaZulu-Natal.
Xundu joined the ANC Youth League in the early 1950s while at St John’s. He was inspired to enter the ministry by ANC secretary-general Canon James Calata.
Xundu headed the Eastern Cape Provincial Council of Churches and the National Inter-Faith Leaders Council and was also a member of the Release Mandela committee in 1981.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Thandiwe, 76, four children and 10 grandchildren.