Long live the spirit of Mme Ruth

Friday, May 22, 2015

By More Matshediso

Vryburg - The story of Mme Ruth is too large to be ignored, says Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete.

“I am always worried that not enough is written about our women leaders of our struggle,” said Mbete on Thursday at the Special Official Memorial Service of the struggle stalwart Ruth Segomotsi Mompati.

On the day, over a thousand residents of the North West province gathered at Huhudi Stadium in Vryburg for the memorial service of Mme Ruth, as she was affectionately known.

Speaker Mbete said the story of Mme Ruth begins from her date of birth to how she became a formidable force for the liberation of her people, and how she was a voice of her people across the globe.

“She was the voice of youth and women of South Africa and Africa,” said Mbete.

She remembers Mme Ruth as a beautiful soul and person who appreciated beauty.

“Part of the abiding memory we will remain with, is the memory of a determined, committed mother of the people but who also was very beautiful facially, physically and also in the depths of her soul.

“As we leave today, we must take all the positive memories from the life of Mme Ruth,” said the Speaker.

“Because of who she was, Mme Ruth will never die. Her life was well rounded and it was lived fully right up to the end. She was going to be 90-years-old on 14 September, and she continued to be active in different spheres in which she chose to serve South Africa,” said the Speaker.

She said Mama Ruth’s life is celebrated this Africa Month.

“You will remember part of her lifetime she was serving the African National Congress outside the borders of this country. She was part of the leadership that worked hard to establish the now African Union (AU), at that time it was called the Organisation of African Unity (OAU),” said the Speaker.

She said Mme Ruth was amongst the freedom fighters who mobilised the world to stand against apartheid before 1994. She also had the opportunity to address the United Nations on many platforms.

She said Mme Ruth at some point had wished that South Africans could learn to engage one another, to listen to each other, and not to scream at each other and not to be distracted, not to be violent but to engage and talk to one another, listen and respond to each other like matured human beings.

The Mother

Speaker Mbete said Mme Ruth, who hailed from the small town of Vryburg, kept both her humility and pride in who she was.

She said Mme Ruth had a wish to write a book which would be titled ‘Stories of my children’.

Mme Ruth had deep love for every human being she came across, but she was most passionate about young people.

“Mme Ruth was an orderly person. She taught us to maintain that order through the example of her life. When we remember her, we must think of our own lives and check whether we are orderly by the way we conduct ourselves, in the way we relate to others, in the way we respect everybody that we come across,” she said.

Speakers representing various organisations reiterated that she was passionate about education and she loved children.

Representative from the Ruth Segomotsi Mompati Foundation, B. Maape, said the foundation has promised to uphold the legacy of Mama Ruta.

“We want to promote voluntarism, to promote social generosity, to promote community development, and do away with the dependency syndrome in our society,” said Maape.

Other speakers said she also played a huge role in sourcing donations such as food and other necessities for the Naledi Hospice.

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo said Mme Ruth was a great leader not because of close proximity to Oliver Tambo or Nelson Mandela, but because of her own contribution to liberation of South Africa and its people to have a better life.

“Not even for a single moment did she think that people must look at her as a great leader because of the close proximity to other great leaders. I wish we could learn from her that our proximity to great leaders does not necessarily translate to us being great leaders.

“We have to work hard on our own so that the next generation will see great leaders in us,” he said.

The Premier said Mme Ruth always asked why do young people who had the ability to work were comfortable in owning RDP houses.

“As government we have decided to look at the possibility of allocating houses to the elderly, people living with disabilities and child headed families. The provincial government will assist everyone else who have the ability to work to be employed so that they can build their own houses,” said Premier Mahumapelo.

He said 60% of provincial government budget will be allocated to delivering services in the villages of the province and next year it will increase to 70%.

“Our people in the villages and small towns have been neglected for many years,” he said.

Amongst political principals who attended the service was Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, Speaker of National Assembly Baleka Mbete and Tourism MEC Desbo Mohono.

Organisations represented included the African National Congress (ANC), ANC Women’s League, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), South African National Civics Organisation (SANCO) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). - SAnews.gov.za