Dumisane Khumalo Simelane laid to rest

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Dumisane Khumalo Simelane was laid to rest on Saturday 3 November. Approximately 300 family,friends, neighbours and colleagues gathered together to show their final respects for a man who was described as “a selfless, dedicated servant of the people and a champion of human rights to the end”. These are not hollow words as any person who knew of Dumisane’s unwavering dedication to his work, could attest.The funeral on Saturday was the final public event of a two-week long schedule of activities to pay respect to Dumisane and to support his grieving family. The day commenced at 8.30am under a marquee outside his family’s home in Zola, Soweto. Representatives of Khulumani Support Group, ANC members, government officials and other NGOs were amongst the crowds of friends and family. Prayers of support and speeches of gratitude made up the schedule of events, interspersed with songs and stories commemorating Dumisane’s life.

The motorcade to Slovo Cemetry in Roodeport – Dumisane’s final resting place – was approximately 15 cars long, with two full bus loads of mourners. Many dozens of people chose to chant and dance their way to the cemetery, wearing T-shirts with Dumisane’s face printed on them. At the grave side, people sang, danced and chanted historical struggle songs, while lamenting the passing of a much-loved man. To one side of the grave, a small group of young men stood solemnly as other men vigorously filled the site with fresh soil. Dumisane had been a humble and unassuming man of few words. We are proud of the final send-off afforded to Dumisane by the many people who loved and respected him.

After the service, everyone gathered together for a meal, organized by the members of the local ANC branch. Food was served from a mobile food caravan outside Dumisane’s home, as well as a in a local class room that was transformed into a small dining room.

Everyone agreed that the country and the community had lost so much in the passing of Dumisane, a person who had given his life in the fight for justice passing, without getting to fully experience that justice himself.

by Pamela Whitman

A TRIBUTE FROM ZWELI MKHIZE
Dumisane Khumalo that he was a truly selfless human being who never gave up supporting people’s struggles against oppression. He diligently served as a true servant of the people and a true revolutionary throughout his life. He had an unsurpassed photographic memory. He pursued the resolution of cases of the disappeared ceaselessly. His ingenuity was made up by one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Zweli explains that “While working with Dumisane on cases of the disappeared, I drew many
lessons from him, namely, persistence, empathy, humility, compassion and service to people to
encourage them never to give up hope in the face of challenges.” Dumisane had made it possible
for Zweli to meet with former President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela at Shell House, the previous
headquarters of the ANC. Zweli continues, “He was never a quitter. We became inseparable
comrades, friends and brothers till the bitter end. His sterling efforts are echoed by everyone he
helped with disappearances and with Special Pension-related matters. He was truly one of a kind
and irreplaceable.”

We will miss you sorely, Dumisane. Thank you for being such an important part of our lives at
Khulumani. Hamba Kahle, brother.

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