Remembering a Fearless Cadre: A Tribute to Cde Abdul Lesley Malinga 1952-2009 by Veli Mbele


Reflecting on his own life, the Bolshevik Novelist and Commissar, Nikolai Ovstrovsky, wrote thus:

“Man’s dearest possession is life and since it is given to him, but once-he must so live as not to be besmeared by the shame of a cowardly existence and trivial past; so live that, dying, he might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in the world-the liberation of mankind”.

On the morning of the 28 November 2009, a fearless heart ceased to throb, a gallant spirit ceased to breath. A proud man, who refused to be besmeared by the shame of a cowardly existence and trivial past. A man whose entire being was devoted to the nothing else, but the liberation of his fellow man. That giant of a man was Cde Lesley Malinga.

Born on the 12 of April, 1952 in the oldest section of the Galeshewe Township, Number Two. He joined the BCM 38 years ago at the tender age of 19 and served AZAPO and the BCM at various levels. He helped found the first AZAPO branch in Kimberley and was instrumental in the co-ordination of the underground activities of its armed wing, the Azanian National Liberation Army.

At the time of his passing, he was an AZAPO Councillor in the Sol Plaatje Municipality in Kimberley, the provincial Head of AZAPO’s Secretariat for Local Government and Housing and a member of AZAPO’s Central Committee. An indefatigable community activist, who didn’t hesitate to take up issues on behalf of various sections of the black community, regardless of their political or religious affiliation.

Within AZAPO and the BCM, he was not just revered for his discipline and dependability but was also known for his passionate abhorrence for perfidy and the fact that, he was always the first to volunteer his services when the lives of the AZAPO leadership and membership were in danger.

In his 38 years of service to AZAPO and the BCM, not once was he ever involved or implicated in any activities that were calculated to undermine the discipline or inner-party unity of AZAPO or any of its structures. It is therefore no embellishment to say that Cde Malinga was the personification of revolutionary honesty.

Many in AZAPO and the BCM, have come to respect, admire and sometimes fear him because he was a straight-talking cadre, who actively fought against liberalism, factionalism, rumour mongering and back biting. So committed to AZAPO was Cde Malinga that he wouldn’t think twice about ending a long-standing personal relationship if he thought such a relationship was militating against his belief in Black Consciousness and Socialism.

For him, no task was ever too great or small. All tasks were equally important. He accepted orders without question and executed them with tact and diligence. For most of his youth and adult life he knew nothing else but the struggle for black dignity and socialism.

In life, he never referred to himself as a cadre or revolutionary; however, through his 38 years of unbroken service to the Azanian Revolution, he defined himself as such. We can now confidently confer upon him the honour of model cadre. And like Ovstrovsky, he had only one life and dear as it was to him, he unreservedly dedicated it to the liberation of mankind.

Today, we can proudly declare that, Cde. Malinga was indeed one of our finest cadres. A bold, industrious and truthful cadre of the Azanian Revolution.

Son of the soil, you have made your humble contribution and in time, the sun shall kiss the horizon and you shall be in a position to assume your honourable place along a glittering galaxy of BC heroes like Onkgopotse Tiro, Bantu Biko,  Mthuli Shezi, Muntu Myeza, Mzwandile Mcoseli, Thami Mcerwa, Thabang Motlhodisi, Lekau Mohaya, Mokete Masetle and many others. So, you may rest now; for we shall continue the struggle for the dignity of black people. Rest fearless cadre! Rest.