Reflections On the Funeral of The Great Samora Moises Machel

“Comrade President, how shall we speak of you? How shall we evoke you as much and as well as you deserve, while there still echoes inside us, the irreplaceable sound of your friendly voice?

Your voice, sometimes vibrant with emotion, sometimes tender, always enveloping us like the embrace of a father, or of a brother, and, so often, with that simple tone of profound humanity.

Only you knew the secret of its grandeur now shall we speak of you, if it was precisely to you we looked when searching for the most appropriate words, the most Just ideas, to come closer to ourselves, to the soul of the people, to the heart of the world?

How shall we speak of you, Comrade President, while the shock of your journey from which there was no return still shudders through the body of the entire country?

How shall we tell you that we cannot accept no longer feeling the strength of your handshake, although there has remained within us the certainty of that warm and friendly hand resting for all time on the shoulders of our country?

What tears shall we shed for you, if during all our life, throughout the sacrifices, along the hard paths that led to our encounter with freedom, you did not teach us to weep? What you taught us was to transform grief into redoubled strength, still more powerful than that which had caused the tears.

Tireless fighter, you fell in struggle against apartheid. An immense void has opened around us. Your death fell upon us suddenly, wrapping all Mozambicans in a heavy mantle of sorrow and anguish. With you there died a part of each and every one of us…”- Marcelino dos Santos

Marcelino dos Santos

The above is an extract from a moving eulogy delivered by the poet, veteran revolutionary and FRELIMO founder, Marcelino dos Santos at the funeral of the great Somora Moises Machel, in Maputo on 28 October, 1986.

Machel was assassinated by a combination of the military intelligence of South AfriKKKa’s apartheid regime and other intelligence agencies, when his plane mysteriously crashed in South AfriKKKa, on 19 October, 1986.

Those who know me more intimately, know that I have a profound love for resistance stories and in particular, those that are about Afrikan resistence. The story of FRELIMO and Samora Machel is one that has captivated me since my teens.

As part of my usual search for material and insights, I watched a video of Samora Machel’s funeral and it left me deeply emotional. See link below:

His funeral was attended by thousands of ordinary Mozambicans, Afrikans from the continent and people from various parts of the world. As you can imagine, it was a deeply sad moment and at the same time, a profoundly historical moment for Afrikans.

Thousands of ordinary Mozambicans lined the streets around the hall. Some holding whatever item that reminded them of their great leader and servant. Together with the Mozambican soldiers, they could not hold back their tears as they walked past Machel’s body in the hall in central Maputo.

Some of those who attended included elder liberation fighters such as Mkhulu Kenneth Kaunda, Mkhulu Joaquim Chissano. Mkhulu Robert Mugabe was also in attendance and was lovingly mobbed by the people of Mozambique.

The delegation of the African National Congress (ANC), was led by its president, Mkhulu Oliver Tambo. He was accompanied by Mkhulu Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (who could be seen in the video holding the umbrella for him).

Mkhulu Tambo can also be seen raising his clenched fist to reciprocate the acknowledgement by the people of Mozambique. ANC stalwart, Gogo Segomotsi Mompati, also formed part of the delegation.

The leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), Yassar Arafat was also in attendance. The young people of Mozambique in attendance, were standing guard in and around the venue.

Some of the banners and posters they were displaying had the following inscriptions

‘Samora what you were not able to do, the young people of Mozambique will do.'

'We hold the apartheid regime responsible for your death'.

It hurt me deeply to watch thousands of our Mozambican kin cry openly and express their pain at the loss of this great son of our Race. Their pain also reminded me of the brutality of the European invaders towards Machel and others who led our resistance against foreign invasion.

This outpour of grief and love for Machel, also reminded me that, there was once a time when being part of the fight for Afrika’s liberation was a highly prestigious and honourable occupation. Today, it has become something else.

The scenes from this video also reinforced my view about the deep connection between the Afrikan liberation struggle in Mozambique and in South AfriKKKa. It is then that I also got reminded that, the question of who killed Samora Machel remains unanswered.

Mass murderers like De KKKlerk might die before we can get closer to the truth. It is my hope that the work of the brilliant pair, Brother Mncedisi Shabangu and Brother Xolile Gama, will bring us closer to knowing not just who killed Samora Machel, but also who killed many of our other freedom fighters, whose deaths remain a mystery.

Kanimambo Samora Machel!

Kanimambo FRELIMO!