Zuma honours ANC Umgwenya cadres who died in Zimbabwe
Gauteng – South Africa President Jacob Zuma has honoured Umgwenya, the elite combatants of the Luthuli Detachment who fought with fellow Zimbabwean comrades in the Hwange-Guruve (then Wankie-Sipolilo) campaign in Zimbabwe in the 1960s.
Speaking while officially opening the 54th National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) at Nasrec Expo Centre, Zuma said the Umgwenya comrades were the first to meet the enemy forces in arm to arm combat battles.
“We have in our midst the members of Umgwenya, the elite combatants of the Luthuli Detachment whose bravery was proven in the Wankie-Sipolilo campaign in Zimbabwe,” said Zuma.
“Recalling this battle years later when delivering his political report, Oliver Tambo said: “Our combatants together with their Zimbabwean comrades acquitted themselves heroically in battles against the combined Smith and Vorster forces. They carried out their mission gallantly and valiantly. We salute Basil February, Patrick Molaoa, Andries Motsepe and other comrades who lie buried in the soil of liberated Zimbabwe.”
Zuma also acknowledged that the venue of the congress has fond memories as it was the same place where the ANC held the first consultative conference in South Africa at the end of 1990.
He said the meeting came after decades of banishment, illegality and exile.
“It was at this same venue as well where Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo addressed ANC members together for the first time after three decades, and where we first charted our path to power,” he added.
“We are inspired by the history of the ANC that was made in this venue, as we chart the way forward for our movement.”