Revolutionary Speaking – President’s Weekly Column – Volume 1 Issue 17

Vol 1: Issue 17
27 January 2023
36 years ago, on 27 January, a treacherous bullet ended the life of Cde Abubaker Hurley Asvat on earth. Those faceless, but known killers, achieved what the apartheid regime had failed to do for decades. Refusing to die, Cde Asvat relocated into the Spiritual World where he continues to heal his people without any injection or tablets.
However, we salute the Abu Asvat Institute for keeping the memory of the Leader of AZAPO in the hearts and minds of the people. This morning AZAPO hosted a Memorial Service at Cde Asvat’s Grave at the Lenasia Cemetery. We do this every year, without fail. We were overjoyed to be joined in this Service by our Comrades in the BCMU.
Born on 23 February 1943, Cde Asvat was murdered at a tender age of 45.  This stalwart of the BCM and co-founder member of AZAPO, spent all his life practically contributing to the development of the poor.  He shunned lucrative jobs. Instead, he planted his surgery right in the shacks of Chicken Farm so that the most needy of his people could access primary healthcare.
I had the honour to set my foot at that surgery in 1986. Not many doctors would have run a surgery in circumstances that were generally deemed dangerous by those who are well-off.
He later moved his surgery to Rockville in Soweto where the devils in our midst conspired to assassinate him because he happened to know about their crimes against the people.
As the Head of AZAPO’s Health Secretariat, Cde Asvat established the Community Health Awareness Project (CHAP), which provided primary healthcare to poor Black people free of charge.  CHAP also made this service accessible to Blacks through mobile clinics.  AZAPO Comrades with the professional know-how like Thandi Myeza, Jenny Tissong and Ruwaida Halim, worked together with Cde Asvat in rendering the services.
While Cde Asvat treated his people, his spouse Cde Zohra Asvat deprived the people of excuses to default in their medication by running a soup kitchen for her people.
At the height of hostilities against AZAPO, Cde Asvat still had the presence of mind to hire ANC’s Cde Albertina Sisulu as a nurse in his surgery in 1984. Through CHAP, he worked together with ANC’s Cde Winnie Mandela to run a clinic in Brantford where the latter was banished at the time.
To show his understanding of the importance of women’s health, in 1986 he teamed up with the Ikageng Women’s Group to deliver on the health of women and children. All these selfless efforts earned him the love of the Black community that ended up affectionately naming him “The People’s Doctor”.
It is ironical that the one who sacrificed everything for his people ended up being murdered not by the enemy, but by his political rivals in the liberation struggle. Judging by the several attempts on his life in his surgery, he knew his life was threatened but chose to stick to the calling of serving his people. 
He is said to have been asked to treat the young activist Stompie Seipei who was allegedly tortured by the “Mandela Football Club”, a structure that was notorious for “kicking the heads of people than kicking football”.
Though two persons were convicted for Cde Asvat’s murder, his death remains an unsolved mystery to this date. His nursing assistant, Cde Sisulu, was present at the surgery when he was shot and killed.
Cde Asvat was not one-dimensional.  As a solid cricketer, he was the President of the Transvaal Cricket Board.  He held leadership positions in various sporting bodies including SACOS with its operational principle “No Normal Sport in an Abnormal Society”. Because he knew that politics is life, Cde Asvat never associated himself with reactionary calls to not mix politics with sport.
Recently, the Institute and the people of Lenasia and Soweto successfully campaigned for the renaming of the highway that connects the two sections of the Black community. The Abubaker Asvat Drive has served as a connecting vein that transports the flow of blood between the two sections of the Black community. The Drive wouldn’t allow N12 to keep Azanians apart.
Some whitewashed people wonder why AZAPO cares so much about the Martyrs. Bantu Biko once warned that “a nation that forgets its martyrs will itself soon be forgotten”.  Cde Dr Don Mattera takes this theme further where he wrote:
“The leaves of my tree
grow brown and thin
soon they will fall to earth
and be forgotten…
What does a man live for
If not to be remembered by his beloved”.
The younger generation of AZAPO Leadership has a responsibility to see to it that the brown and thin leaves that have fallen to the earth are not blown into oblivion by the winds of treachery. How best to do that if not by ensuring that we build Cde Asvat’s AZAPO Brick by Brick?
Laying the wreath at his Grave this morning, and in my capacity as the President of AZAPO, I made a commitment to Cde Asvat that his organisation will rise and conquer the anti-Black world. We will sow the seeds of life, and crows will destroy some. When they destroy, we shall continue sowing. We will never stop tilling the land as the Children of the Soil.
The wind beneath our wings is our conviction that it will rain one day. Out of this conviction, we keep our baskets even during drought. The harvest season shall come. When it comes, it must find us ready with baskets.