I wanted to wait until my mourning period – as prescribed by my families’ cultural values – was over, but the gratitude that overwhelms me and my family refuses to be contained by time and demands its fullest expression now for the deep care various organisations, fraternities, individuals and the state showed us during the passing of my husband, Rev Mcebisi Xundu.
The media dispelled the stereotype that it is an entity moulded by negative reporting and invasion of privacy by the continuous positive reporting around my husband’s life and passing.
African tradition and culture does not invite people for funerals and the media coverage helped us immensely as a family in communicating to people who were far and wide about the events surrounding Xundu’s legacy and final send-off.
The deep support of the national and provincial ANC, the state, the Presidency, Luthuli House, the Office of the Premier, NMB Municipality, the local RTT committee and kuManzana Municipality has overwhelmed us. When my husband joined the ANC five decades ago, never did he think this party he fiercely gave his life to would affirm his work in this monumental manner.
For those of us who remained to witness the magnificence of the memorial service done by the ANC, the state’s uplifting of Xundu’s legacy at the state funeral, proceeding to the sacred hour of the cremation and then finally laying his ashes kuManzana Engcobo, how could we not say “Sibulela ngazo zozibini (we are grateful with both hands)”? We who saw the police and MK’s dignified guard of honour at the funeral and crematorium respectively could only be in awe when my husband, who often described himself as a “pauper with pride”, was bestowed with a state funeral by the Presidency.
The church fraternity rose up with elegance and poise to assemble the values of integrity, fairness and equality my husband lived by throughout our ordeal. The leadership of the Eastern Cape Provincial Council of Churches in ensuring that his ministry was an integral part of events and the kindness of the Mother’s Union is forever imprinted in our hearts.
St Mathew’s and St Steven’s offered the comfort and healing we needed during our loss, particularly in prayer meetings and daily house visits by friends and community culminating in Bishop Bethlehem Nopece officiating at the state funeral with all the dignity we could hope for.
Sunnette Lombard contributed to my husband’s last living legacy by publishing his written work in seven books. Seeing her friendship and how they combined two families – her Afrikaans and our Xhosa – into a deep friendship was witnessing the Madiba legacy in action.
We are grateful for the messages of condolences including the telephone messages and flowers that streamed into our home. They will continue to soothe us as the buzz of events wears down and the reality – with its accompanied loneliness – that my husband, Qwati, is no more.
With the warmest of love, thank you for your spirit of ubuntu.
-Thandiwe Xundu, Port Elizabeth