Pictured: Willie "Siyaya" Nkonyeni

Pictured: Willie “Siyaya” Nkonyeni
Photo by Xola Tyamzashe

It is with deep sadness, for many of us that the Nkonyeni family should lose such a son so unexpectedly. Your son is a great loss also to this nation and to the liberation movement of which he was highly respected, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania. Major General Siyaya Nkonyeni has departed to eternity at a critical time in our history when we need more warriors, for our authentic liberation, like him. He has served the African national liberation struggle of our country with distinction and tenacity.

This is a soldier who knew his military science well and understood that its ultimate objective is the equitable redistribution of land and its resources in our country according to population numbers. This African case was put to King George V of England by Sol Plaatje, John Dube and their three colleagues in July 1914. Our Kings had already fought heroic wars for it. Political giants of this country such as Lembede, Mda, Sobukwe and Mothopeng endorsed this land issue and articulated it without compromise.

Major General Siyaya was a brave soldier. Long before he joined the South African National Defence Force in 1994, his name was associated with the song “Siyaya ePitori” – We are going to Pretoria. This was when he lived in the forests, mountains and hills of Africa where he was being trained as a guerrilla fighter for this country to be liberated from colonialism and apartheid. This was during the darkest times. But far away from his country, where he was suffering the gruesome life of guerrilla warfare, he became famous for the freedom song, “Siyaya ePitori.” This sounded like a manifestation of mental disorder – insanity.

But he did go to Pretoria – Tshwane, not as an apartheid colonial slave. He joined as a free man and he rose in the ranks of the South African Army to the rank of Major General. He served with honour and earned trust to be deployed in our sister Democratic Republic of Congo to perform his Pan African obligation there, as taught by Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, that visionary who was imprisoned on Robben Island without even a mock trial.

I want to convey my personal appreciation to M-Afrika Siyaya’s family and to all his relatives for contributing to our national liberation struggle, a politico-military cadre of Comrade Siyaya’s calibre. Without such men, the indigenous owners of this country would have ended in the 11 Bantustans called “home lands” by the colonialists. They had the audacity to tell us where we may live in the land that God, Qamata, Modimo, Mvelingqngi gave to our ancestors.

Let this generation and coming generations derive inspiration and wisdom from our heroes such as Major General Siyaya Nkonyeni. The liberation journey he was involved in is still long. Cde Siyaya was in the class of General Makhanda colonially called Makana. He defended land rights for Africans in this country under King Ndlambe. On 25 December 1819, he stormed the British colonial garrison in Grahamstown – eRhini isixeko seNgwele!

General Siyaya walked the road of General Makwanyane of Moshoeshoe’s Army who wiped out those who were trying to climb Thaba Bosiu and dispossess Africans of their country and land. Makwanyane demonstrated political clarity and military prowess when he said: “Tshwara thebe e tie wa Rasenate, Wa bona fatshe leno le yaya.” (Hold firm your shield son of Rasenate, You see the land of your ancestors is taken away).

General Siyaya “ePitori”: Sobukwe, Mothopeng, Pokela, Jafta Masemola and many other heroes of our authentic liberation are proud of you.

The architect of Battle of Isandlwana, King Cetshwayo – Uphaqa nje ngelanga; Inyathi yasenhlakanhlakeni; Unokuzila ukudla kwamagwala; Impunzi kaNdaba! is full of joy for your sacrificial national service.

King Hintsa was also a great soldier – Njonga ntshiyini bathi uqumbile; Inkunzi abayikhuzu ukuhlaba ingekahlabi; Uzigodlwana zemazi endala; Zingalala endleni yazini kunyembelekile. He too, is smiling with joy upon your patriotism.

WHAT REMAINS NOW IN OUR COUNTRY IS EQUITABLE REDISTRIBUTION OF LAND AND ITS RICHES ACCORDING TO POPULATION NUMBERS. LIBERATION OF A LAND DISPOSSESSED PEOPLE WITHOUT REPOSSESSION OF THEIR LAND IS A GIGANTIC COLONIAL FRAUD.

General Major Siyaya Nkonyeni Rise in Honour and Glory!

HAMBA KAKUHLE QHAWE LAKOWETHU!

Izwe Lethu! Fatshe la rona! Shango lashu! Tiko ra hina! The Land Is Ours!

By Dr. Motsoko Pheko

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