Leaders recall life of former league head

TRIBUTES poured in yesterday for former ANC Youth League leader Andile Nkuhlu, who was once praised by former President Thabo Mbeki as the kind of ANC member most should strive to be like.

Port Elizabeth-born Nkuhlu died in a Johannesburg hospital on Tuesday after a long battle against diabetes.

Nkuhlu, 44, served two terms in the youth league’s national executive committee under former presidents Malusi Gigaba and Fikile Mbalula.

He was also a former ANC provincial executive member before defecting to COPE after the 2007 Polokwane conference.

ANC member Gift Ngqondi said he had served in the Bay youth league with Nkuhlu.

“He was very versatile. If you remember he was once described by President Thabo Mbeki as the new kind of ANC member in 2000,” Ngqondi said.

“He was also one of the architects of the Umsobomvu Youth Fund to drive youth development.”

The dead leader’s younger brother and Koukamma municipal manager, Sabelo Nkuhlu, said the family was still trying to come to terms with his death. “He will remain a part of us even in spirit,” Nkuhlu said.

ANC national and provincial bosses described their former comrade as a person of great principle who belonged to a notable group of youth league leaders.

ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa said Nkuhlu belonged to the generation of ANCYL leaders who unapologetically infused radical outlooks and programmes in the ANC, thus making the organisation more appealing and relevant to youth aspirations.

ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane described Nkuhlu as a leader who “demonstrated great bravery, resourcefulness and initiative”.

“As we look back on a life well-lived we are reminded of his compassion, humanity and integrity,” Mabuyane said.

“A person of great principle, Andile was resolute in his commitment to the people of this country and to the cause of democracy everywhere.”

Anti-apartheid activist and businessman Khusta Jack said: “He had a combination of being a technocrat, an entrepreneur and a politician. He was of a generation that was equipped by the ANC because our generation [was] just politicians.” Nkuhlu is survived by three children. Two memorial services have been organised in Cape Town and Johannesburg tomorrow.

His funeral service will be held next Thursday at the Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton from 9am.

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