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In Memoriam

The CPS honours it’s comrades who dedicated their lives to freedom, democracy, and justice.

Cde. Felix Mabaso

The struggle of Swaziland has lost another young life with great potential when Comrade Sithembiso Simelane, known as Felix Mabaso among his comrades, passed away on 12 April 2018 at Robs Ferreira hospital, Mbombela, after a short illness.

Comrade Felix was one of the Swazi activists exiled in South Africa after leaving Swaziland in 2006, avoiding arrest from the Swazi political police who were clamping down on PUDEMO and SWAYOCO. He was a political activist involved in the Hlominsika Campaign which was aimed at mobilising offensive action against the Mswati regime. He, together with other militant activists, regrouped in Mpumalanga Province in South Africa, established a new base for the liberation movement and revived solidarity work in the province and beyond.

In 2008, he was one of the comrades who planned on the establishment of the Communist Party of Swaziland and worked for some years as its International Organiser. He served the Party with commitment and dedication, connecting the CPS and the Swazi struggle internationally and with Communist and Workers’ parties who became actively involved in practical solidarity with the struggling people of Swaziland in one way or another. Part of the achievements of his work in the office was the acceptance of the Communist Party of Swaziland as a member of the Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties. 

Comrade Felix had potential to add more value to the struggle for freedom in Swaziland. He was not immune from the pressures of exile, but nonetheless he persevered. Like his compatriots in exile, his potential was sometimes frustrated by the tough exile life he had to endure. This is what the Mswati regime has made our comrades go through!

He lived a life with his comrades in the Party, his friends and relatives. More important is his family from whom he has lived outside for the last 12 years of his life.

The undying spirit of Comrade Felix lives on!

Comrade Simphiwe “Tinker” Mkhatshwa

He shared his life with the poor and marginalised

In only two years of its life the Communist Party of Swaziland lost its founding National Organiser, Comrade Simphiwe Mkhatshwa, popularly known among his comrades as Tinker. Comrade Tinker died on 12 October of when the car he was travelling in was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle near Middelburg, in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. 

Comrade Tinker was a committed cadre of the Party who had cut his teeth in the struggle for the freedom of the people of Swaziland especially in the Swaziland Youth Congress – Swayoco. Thus, his experience proved invaluable to the Party and had trusted him enough to be its National Organiser on its founding on 9 April 2011, a position he executed with commitment and humility. 

He was active in the communi- ties of Moneni and KaKhoza [in Manzini], where he strug- gled to advance housing rights and better living conditions…, took a prominent role in mobi- lizing workers in strikes for better pay and conditions, and was a dynamic organiser in the communities of rural Mafutseni. 

In 2013, mourning his death and celebrating his contribution to the struggle, the Party recalled that Comrade Tinker, “was a stalwart activist in the students’ movement, in which he worked to defend the rights and interests of students.” The Party went on to state that he “was active in the communities of Moneni and KaKhoza [in Manzini], where he struggled to advance housing rights and better living conditions…, took a prominent role in mobilizing workers in strikes for better pay and condi- tions, and was a dynamic organiser in the communities of rural Ma- futseni [northeast of Manzini city].

Indeed, as the Communist Party of Swaziland said about Comrade Tinker soon after his death, “He shared his life with the poor and marginalised”. Liciniso, in its maiden publication, take the opportunity to remember the work of Comrade Tinker and calls upon all workers of Swaziland and the world to intensify the struggle for freedom in Swaziland and a socialist world!

Cde. Alex Langwenya

Comrade Alex Langwenya remains one of the most respected leaders of the youth in Swaziland, especially the Swaziland Youth Congress (Swayoco). He died on 7 October 2014.

At the time of his death, Comrade Langwenya was a CPS member and 1st Deputy Secretary General of the People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo). He had been ill for a few months, and had been admitted to Mbabane government hospital a week before he died early on the morning of 7 October 2014 at the hospital.

As soon as the news of his death was known, the CPS issued a statement, “mourning the loss of one of the finest cadres of the Swazi liberation movement, Comrade Alex Langwenya,” said CPS on 7 October 2014. 

Cde Langwenya held many positions in the leadership of the liberation movement since the late 1990s. Previous positions he had held in Swayoco included National Organising Secretary, Political Commissar and President.

He was also an active trade unionist, first as a member of the Swaziland Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union, and then as a shop steward and executive official of the union in the then SAPPI branch.

He was a brave and committed comrade, who endured harassment, detention, arrest and torture at the hands of Mswati’s police, and routinely charged with various political crimes, including sedition, by the regime – for fighting for the freedom of the Swazi people. The regime also tried to silence Cde Langwenya by bombing his home at night (in the year 2010) while he slept.

Cde Langwenya took an active part in the CPS from its formation stage and was a much loved and valued comrade who resolutely championed the struggle for socialism in Swaziland.

He will be remembered for his never lapsing commitment to the struggle of the working class and poor people of Swaziland and world over.

Cde Njabulo “Njefire” Dlamini

A trusted revolutionary worker; An Internationalist; Dedicated to the struggle of the people; Communist till the end!

In the late afternoon of Thursday 23 May 2019, the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) lost one of its best cadres and leaders, Comrade Njabulo Dlamini, fondly known among his comrades as “Njefire”. At the time of his death, Comrade Njabulo Dlamini was the International Organiser of the CPS. He died at the Mbabane Government Hospital after a short illness. 

“Comrade Njabulo “Njefire” Dlamini – a communist till the end”

Comrade Njabulo Dlamini (12 June 1986 – 23 May 2019), fondly known among his comrades as “Njefire”, joined the Communist Party Swaziland (CPS) in 2011 at its foundation stage while a student at the University of Swaziland. He served in the Youth and Students Commission of the Party. Experience gained in the Commission broadened his understanding of the struggle, which helped him to play a key role in the Swaziland Union of Students (SNUS) and the entire student movement. He was then seconded into the Party’s campaigns team where he became assistant coordinator of the Break the Chains Campaign.

His dedication to the struggle and revolutionary potential were demonstrated further when the CPS was in the front line in defence of the people against state-imposed eviction of residents in Madonsa township, near Manzini City, in 2011. He was part of the leading ground organisers of the community resistance there.

Comrade Njabulo was first elected into the CPS Central Committee in 2013 where he served as the Party’s National Organiser. While serving in that position, he graduated with a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Swaziland. He was subsequently employed as a teacher by the government of Swaziland and was deployed in a deep rural primary school where he fully applied himself to impart critical knowledge on learners, slowly inculcating revolutionary thought in them.

In the CPS 3rd National Congress in 2017, Comrade Njefire was elected as the Party’s International Organiser where he quickly revitalised the office, serviced its tasks and purposes. He linked the CPS and the Swazi people’s struggles with the international community. He helped the CPS to update the world promptly and more accurately on political developments in Swaziland. He also established solidarity campaign organs within the CPS to support other struggles elsewhere in the world.  He helped establish the Swaziland Kurdistan Solidarity Network in solidarity with the people of Kurdistan.  His last major international work was during the 2019 Israeli Apartheid Week where he helped organise a solidarity activity in collaboration with the leadership of SNUS, in solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

Incidentally, it was during the days leading to the Israeli Apartheid Week in April 2019 that he started receiving threatening messages from people claiming to be supporters of the state of Israel. Many of these messages even threatened him with death for helping to organise the first Israeli Apartheid Week activity ever to be held in Swaziland. Soon after this activity on 6 April 2019, Comrade Njabulo got sick and could not even attend the CPS National Conference from 18-22 April 2019, dying a month later.

At the time of his death he had been charged by the regime, together with the Deputy National Chairperson of the CPS, on trumped up traffic offences. They had been arrested by the regime on 11 January 2019 while they were on their way to a workers’ planning meeting in Manzini. This arrest was one of the many spells of harassment by the Mswati regime.

Comrade Njabulo represented the CPS in many international meetings, the last being the 20th Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, held in Athens, Greece, in November 2018.

Comrade Njabulo’s work in the teachers’ union

Comrade Njabulo dedicated himself fully wherever he found himself. He participated with utmost commitment in the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT). In his new condition as a worker Comrade Njabulo’s theoretical and practical grasp of workers’ issues got further sharpened.  

His personal experiences of exploitation as a teacher, including the exploitation of teachers generally, by the royal regime helped him to advance a clearer perspective on how to mobilise teachers and link their issues with those of workers from other sectors. Primary in this regard were young, temporal and misplaced teachers. He was able, together with other young teachers, to engage the union leadership to take up young teachers’ issues. 

One thing that did not go down well with some of the former leaders in the union is that Comrade Njabulo tended to pursue issues which were viewed by many as too difficult and impossible to win; issues that had never been attempted before. It was his revolutionary tenacity, persuasion and steadfastness that helped grow the force necessary to convince the leadership that those issues be pursued. With his practical contribution towards the resolution of those issues, he became highly trusted and a great source of inspiration to many members of the union and beyond. The union gradually transformed and became more radical on its campaigns partly due to his untiring work. This is how he was able, working together with other young workers, to hold activities that were thought impossible before, including a fully-packed night vigil in August 2018 and a young workers’ forum where workers’ self-defence units were formed.

He also served as regional coordinator of the Trade Union Federation for the Lubombo and Big-Bend areas in the Shiselweni region. In this work he was able to connect well with other workers from other sectors. His objective in this role was to inculcate radicalism and militancy within the union movement, especially in young workers. 

While he was able to inspire many workers, his trade union activism his did not go without opposition. He was able to attract some serious opposition from some anti-communist cliques within the pro-democracy movement. Such opposition could only serve the interests of the Mswati autocracy. At the time of his death, he had defeated many of these elements and won some over to his side.

The legacy of Comrade Njabulo shall live on

Comrade Njabulo died young, a few weeks before his 33rd birthday. He still had more to contribute to the revolution, in pursuit of freedom, democracy and socialism.

The Communist Party of Swaziland will always lift high on, and do everything to live by, the values that Comrade Njabulo left. Dedication, hard work, honesty and loyalty to the revolution is what set him apart from many! He was a true Communist! His revolutionary spirit and legacy shall live on.

Cde. Mandla “Gogo Mahlalentabeni” Thabethe

“Communist Party of Swaziland sends deepest condolences to family and comrades of Comrade Mandla “Gogo Mahlalentabeni” Thabethe”

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) sends its deepest condolences to the family of Comrade Mandla Thabethe, who died on 24 July 2020. He was fondly known among his comrades as “Comrade Gogo Mahlalentabeni”.

The CPS also sends heartfelt condolences to the South African Communist Party, particularly the Chief Albert Luthuli Sub-district where he served as the treasurer, as well as to the Tripartite Alliance which he served till the end of his life.

Comrade Gogo was an embodiment of working-class solidarity and internationalism. He contributed meaningfully to Swaziland’s struggle for freedom, providing resources to the CPS without any financial expectation in return for his solidarity. Since the birth of the CPS in 2011, he has always opened his home for the CPS to hold its activities, even going the extra mile to provide his own labour power to ensure the success of all CPS activities. Our comrades will also remember him for the personal advices he gave them – from health to social – and how he was always helpful to their personal problems.

Driven by his genuine love for humanity, Comrade Gogo also undertook charity work, helping many people with various afflictions, including rescuing many young people from homelessness.

In memory of Comrade Mandla “Gogo Mahlalentabeni” Thabethe, the Communist Party of Swaziland calls for the mobilisation of the various sectors of Swaziland in a unified struggle against the tinkhundla regime. The various people’s organisations must unite and form a strong Liberation Front in the fight for democracy in Swaziland.

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