Port Elizabeth - The late Gavin Watson’s brother Valence delivered a moving tribute to his older brother at his funeral service in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, urging leaders of the ANC to return the party to its glorious past.
Addressing mourners at Feather Market Centre in Port Elizabeth, Valence, 67, said that their family was steeped in its Christian values and that they were a family of men and women of faith who firmly believed that God was above all.
“We are supposed to love our neighbour as ourselves, that’s what Gavin would’ve wanted because that’s what he imprinted upon us, that’s what our father imprinted upon us and our mother did the same, and that’s what it is,” Watson said.
He added that their family believed strongly in freedom of worship and that whatever a person’s religion, they believed that an individual should have the right and space to be respected.
“Our Christianity is not just a religion, it is a way of life, we believe in living it. My father would always say to us ‘be careful chaps because there are many Christians but people don’t see many followers of Christ, we attempt to follow Christ’. But that’s not to say we believe we’re holier than thou because we can say as the Apostle Paul ‘we’re sinners saved by Grace’, we can say as the Apostle Paul ‘we’re the chief of all sinners’,”said watson.
Watson then went on to plead with his ANC comrades to help return the party to its former glories and its rightful place saying that this was what his brother would have wanted.
“With the unity of purpose in this region, we cannot be divided. What Gavin would have wanted is that Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape and the whole country gets economic growth and that all people have a job. There’s nothing that Gavin liked more than to see people at work.
“This won’t just happen, there was a saying in the 1970s that said ‘Unzima lomthwalo, ufuna amadoda, I’ll add nabafazi’ (This load is heavy, it needs men but I will add also women), but it needs us a leaders here too,” said Watson.
He added that as the ANC said was a non-racial organisation and because the family also believes in non-racialism, this was why they were comfortable within the party.
“We’re comfortable in the Christian family because that’s what we believe, we’re comfortable in the ANC family because that’s what we believe and we’re comfortable in Port Elizabeth because we love this place and we love the people of this place,” said Watson.
He also urged young leaders in the region, whom he said he was impressed with, to take a lead and work towards building a better South Africa.
Also speaking at the service was veteran sportsman Nolu Themba Ludwaba, who told mourners of the major role the Watson brothers played in promoting black rugby players abroad especially in the 80s when the world knew little about black people in the white-dominated sport.
“This Watson family supported the Kwazakhele Rugby Union (Kwaru) which was trying to unite Port Elizabeth players,” Ludwaba said.
Kwaru was understood to be a union representing black rugby player who were based in Port Elizabeth’s Kwazakhele township.
“The Watson brothers came to join Kwaru, and the role of Gavin and his brothers was to support the young guys,” said Ludwaba.
As Watson’s funeral service proceeded, struggle songs, including those of the United Democratic Front, dominated the service which was packed with thousands of black and white mourners.
Ludwaba said Gavin’s role in Kwaru led to the black rugby union even being recognised abroad.
“Overseas they did not know that blacks were playing rugby in South Africa, but the Watson brothers made a plan.
“That is how we were recognised, and that made us a threat to the system of South Africa, especially the special branch."