Uncle Eddie,
Members of the Schoor family,
Fellow mourners,
Fellow South Africans,
Comrades and friends,

Monday night, through the cold winter night came the call. Not just another cellphone ringing in the dark, interrupting the silence, interrupting our dull thoughts, interrupting yet another meeting, interrupting! This time the ring was of dark news, sad news, news we never wanted to hear. News we could not believe. News that our dear comrade – Aunty Glor was no more.

We stopped in our tracks, shocked, unable to believe what we had heard. Refusing to believe our devastation. No it could not be true! We were just talking about her!

We came rushing, refusing to hear the news, refusing to believe, refusing. We flew through the night, the N7 never seemed shorter, but our journey never seemed longer.

Then we saw the blue and red flashing lights piercing the dark, a policeman waved us down, the glass lay strewn in the road, a puddle of water, a small slick of oil. The tow truck was already loaded with one car. The other lay across half across the road, its front pointed as if it, like us, wanted to speed away.

We were shivering with cold, shivering with disbelief, shivering with anger, shivering with deep sobs, shivering against the night, shivering against the news. No, No, No. No it can’t be!

No it can’t be here. No it can’t be true. In the dark, not knowing who we were, a paramedic says slowly, quietly, not wanting to say the words, struggling to get them out – “dit was Raadslid Schoor, ons se leier.”

As I stand here, we still refuse to believe – No, it cannot be!

Soon, the mournful words will ring out – dust to dust.

Soon, We will say our last farewells and turn our backs on the grave of a patriot. Health giving water will wash our hands clean of the earth that will forever be the home of our comrade. But will the grief also wash away from our souls!
Yes, we were talking about her that night, literally minutes before her death. Yes we were talking about her, but we were speaking no ill. We knew she was a leader. A hard worker and a leader, one of our brightest and most hard working, one who only wanted to be judged by what she produced, not what she said, not by who she destroyed, not by what she drove, or who her friends were or what clothes she wore. No, Glor was not that type of leader.

She was one of those leaders who the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu longed for, when he said:
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, Not so good when people obey and acclaim him, Worse when they despise him….But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim is fulfilled.”

Yes, we were talking of her that night. We thought her time had come to lead. Now, after this tragedy, that will not come to pass, as we hoped, as we wished, as her comrades willed.

No! rather let her example lead us. Let her quiet will lead us. Let her dedication and discipline lead us, let her outrage lead us, let Aunty Glor’s legacy lead us.

And what of that legacy? What is that legacy? What is her legacy?

Firstly, we speak of dedication and hard work. Aunty Glor knew that the African National Congress is not our birthright, it is not something we lay claim to, it is not something we own. Rather it is something we found, alive and kicking, which we hope to contribute some of our lives to, something which must be stronger, more powerful when we leave it to carry on its journey, its mission of uniting and liberating our people.

That is why we were not surprised that Aunty Glor was coming from Kalbaskraal that dark and vengeful night. Kalbaskraal, that site of the migrant labour system, the hostels, the tearing apart of families, of endless labour on another man’s land. Kalbaskraal where for so many years men lived separate from women, separate from the bosses, separate from the local people. Kalbaskraal, hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles from their homes and wives and children and cattle and green fields, to toil as cheap labour, day after day, for another man’s profit.

It was in this reminder of the brutal past of our country, in Kalbaskraal, that Glor was renewing the ANC membership of the workers and their families. Making sure that the ANC is stronger more effective, than when she found it.

Secondly, Aunty Glor stood for what was right and stood against what is wrong. Racism in all its forms outraged her. Even more so, the racism of one group of the oppressed against another. She raged against racism, both open and subtle. And she was not one to speak out in public, but then to encourage it quietly behind the scenes. Aunty Glor knew that the unity of all our people is the bedrock of our revolution and division is our downfall.

Thirdly, Aunty Glor was never interested in great wealth, showing off her car or clothes.

As President Mbeki has complained,

“Thus everyday and during every hour of our time beyond sleep, the demons embedded in our society, that stalk us at every minute, seem always to beckon each one of us towards a realisable dream and nightmare. With every passing second, they advise, with rhythmic and hypnotic regularity – get rich! get rich! get rich!

“And thus has it come about that many of us accept that our common natural instinct to escape from poverty, is but the other side of the same coin on whose reverse side are written the words at all costs, get rich!

“In these circumstances, the meaning of freedom has come to be defined not by the seemingly ethereal and therefore intangible gift of liberty, but by the designer labels on the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the spaciousness of our houses and our yards, their geographic location, the company we keep and what we do as part of that company.”

President Mbeki concludes:

“It is perfectly obvious that many in our society, having absorbed the value system of the capitalist market, have come to the conclusion that, for them personal success and fulfilment means personal enrichment at all costs and the most theatrical and striking public display of that wealth.”

This was not for Aunty Glor. She lived simply, serving her people, living amongst them, uniting them, liberating them.

The West Coast is a dry land and a cold sea – it is harsh and dry, harsh and hot, harsh and cold. From the foggy depths of the Benguela current, through the searing summer heat of the Sandveld, to the snow capped mountains of the Cederberg in winter – it is a land of harshness and struggle.

The harshness of this land is embedded with the first footprints, of a woman, at Kraalbaai. The harshness of the land is etched with the struggles of our people. The very first struggles of our people to keep their land and wealth, to resist the colonial invaders, to safeguard their language and culture were fought out here.

This is the land of the Cochoqua, Gouriqua, Goringhaiqua, Gorachouqua and Goringhaicona tribes and their fighting leaders: Gogosoa, Gonnema and Doman – the land of the Khoi-khoi and the San – African peoples who are no more and of whom only their echo’s remain. Sometimes we can still hear their voices shouting at us, pleading for their return.

This is amongst the first land that was stolen. It came to be called Groenekloof, Grootepos, Saldanha, Atlantis, Mamre, Malmesbury, Riebeeck Kasteel, Chatsworth – names that were brought from elsewhere and stamped on African soil through the power of a gun.

Yet we also remember Riebeeck Kasteel as the scene of a great slave uprising, Mamre as the site of the first uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) training camp in the Western Cape – a parade ground of our warrior heroes – Looksmart Ngudle, Basil February, Wolfie Kodesh.

Today we add the name of Glor Schoor to these great patriots.

We say to her,

You set yourself a task which only the brave would dare. Somewhere in the mystery of your essence, you heard the call that you must devote your life to the creation of a new South African nation.

And having heard that call, you did not hesitate to act!

To the gallant family that borrowed us this daughter of the soil we say: “Thank you”. We return her to you.

Like our dear comrade who did so much for her people, we say we will struggle on, we will build unity, we will fight division and racism, we will create a better life for all.

As you prayed, we will respond to the cries of the wretched of the earth. As you loved them, we will, always, stretch out a hand of endearment to those who are your flesh and blood. In all this, we will not fail you.

On behalf of the ANC Western Cape Provincial Executive Committee (PEC). With acknowledgement and many thanks to comrades Thabo Mbeki and Jeff Radebe.

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