Johannesburg - While the Sobukwe family says all political parties and politicians are welcome to attend the funeral of Dinilesiwe Sobukwe, the son of anti-apartheid stalwart, Robert Sobukwe, the family says it would prefer to be in charge of everything to avoid the political chaos that marred the funeral of Zondeni Sobukwe, the widow of Robert Sobukwe, in August last year.
Speaking to Independent Media about the funeral plans for Dinilesizwe, 65, who died on Wednesday, his son Tsepo, 38, said they have learnt lessons from the chaos that erupted at Zondeni’s funeral and they would not like to see a repeat of it. He said while the Sobukwe family and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) are inextricably linked, his father was not a member of the party.
“The funeral of our grandmother last year was hijacked and it became a platform for political opportunists and we would not like to see something like that happening again. That is why as a family we are considering handling everything ourselves even though political parties and politicians are welcome to attend,” the son said.
As a result of the chaos that erupted when two factions of the PAC fought to control the funeral, the state representative, Deputy President, David Mabuza, was whisked by his security personnel due to safety concerns. That meant the funeral lost its status as state sanctioned.
Tsepo said history was repeating itself because during the funeral of his grandfather, Robert, in March 1978, there was chaos when the crowed howled and threw stones at the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
“This is not good as you remember that a similar thing happened at the funeral of my grandfather. Remember the incident that involved uBaba Gatsha (Prince Mangosuthu)? We don’t want that again,” he said.
The family said there was no official dates and venues for the funeral yet.
Dinilesizwe was born in Soweto and he leaves behind his wife and two children, Tsepo and Tsiyamo
As a result of the persecution the Sobukwe family suffered from the apartheid government, he moved to Lesotho and later Swaziland where he attended Salesian Boys High School.
He would later move to Atlanta in the US where he attended college.
In 2001 he came back to SA for a funeral but later decided to return to the country permanently.