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SIPHOFANENI – ‘A great man who lived among the ordinary’.

The above sentiments were shared by Lobamba Lomdzala Member of Parliament (MP) Marwick Khumalo, at the memorial of former Siphofaneni MP Gundwane Gamedze. Khumalo shared many stories about the late MP who served for 20 years in the House of Assembly. He told over 2 000 mourners that the late Gamedze once turned down an appointment to become a Cabinet Minister because he was not one of those who loved positions. Khumalo said Gamedze called him after receiving a call from the prime minister (PM), who had listed his name among those of potential ministers. He said the late former MP displayed a great understanding of his calling and was not bothered by positions as he desired to work for the people of his constituency. “One day after we had won the election, Gamedze gave me a call and said he had received a notification from the then prime minister that he was recommended for a post in the Cabinet. Just before I could congratulate him, he told me that he turned the appointment down.

not called to serve

“He said he was not called to serve as a minister and was not going to embarrass himself,” said Khumalo. He said Gamedze held the record of being the first and only MP to be elected by the people in four consecutive terms and served for 20 full years without a break. Khumalo said he believed there was no other MP who could break the record left by Gamedze. Khumalo added that for an MP to be re-elected by the people for so many years was an example that he was in touch with the people and related to them well. “Gamedze was the country’s male version of Mother Theresa and he loved people, especially those from his constituency. He was a very respectful and respected legislator. He commanded influence and it was not possible to ignore him or what he said,” said Khumalo.

Gamedze was hailed by the experienced legislator as a very wise MP who knew when to speak and believed in interrelations in parliament. “He fought for the people such that we once stopped a whole budget because the government had taken land from his people in Maphilingo. He came to me and asked for assistance and I moved a motion that brought the house to a standstill. I was inspired by Gamedze and what he would do for his people. He woke up every morning and moved from ministry to ministry to get the work done in his area. As you see all these government offices in Siphofaneni, they are Gamedze’s work,” he said. Speaker after speaker hailed the late Gamedze for being a giver. He was praised for his open and loving nature, which impacted the lives of those around him.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Mduduzi Gamedze said the late MP had a gift of giving and he gave selflessly to other people. He said Gamedze would give even his last cent. “We felt great pain he died, because we knew that he had done a lot of things for us and the family. He was not a lazy person and he worked tirelessly for the people of Siphofaneni. The area changed and progressed because of his work. He never changed and was always the same person to everyone. He loved sports and interacted with everyone in the area. He was such a giver that no one would leave without him giving money to that person,” he said. He further thanked everyone that supported the family in their time of need. He said Gamedze would be remembered for his greatness and his desire to keep those around him happy.

A representative from his surviving wife’s, LaShongwe, the family said Gamedze was a great man who lived among the ordinary and remained relevant to all classes and kinds of people.
“There is no one like Gundwane and he was above all men and was relational to all classes, despite having limited education. He was faithful to our sister even to the point of death. We are happy that they stayed together till the end. We are grateful that MPs are here and we are very grateful that you served with him and contributed to his life,” he said. Gamedze had two wives and the second wife, LaMtetwa’s family was represented by Mathokoza Mtetwa. Mtetwa echoed the sentiments that Gamedze was a great man who had a heart of gold.  “He was a great man who lived his life to the fullest and massively impacted the community. He was trusted by the constituency for many years and yet he remained humble and interacted with everyone. He was a hero to many families in the community and the family has a legacy to protect,” said Mtetwa.

continue with his legacy

Mtetwa urged Gamedze’s children to continue with his legacy and to love people the way he was doing. His wife LaShongwe thanked the late Gamedze for 52 years of marriage and a good life. “I am surprised that after spending so many years together, you have left me. Thank you for the love that you have shown me. I heard you love people but to me, it was like you loved me alone. You played your part and I am glad I loved you but you loved me even more. Heavens are happy to receive you and as much as I am sad to let you go, I am also glad that you have departed to a better place,” she said. It was revealed during the memorial service that Gamedze accepted Christ before he passed on. His friend, Khenani Gama said the late MP was living a life of a Christian even before he started going to church. Gama further revealed that Gamedze did not want to be an MP, but wanted to live among the people and help them.
“His biggest weakness was the people of Siphofaneni. He loved the people with all his heart and even though he did not want to go to parliament, when the people insisted, he ended up going,” said Gama.

While everyone was praising Gamedze for his loving and giving nature, his children revealed that he was a very strict parent. His elder daughter, Siphiwe said Gamedze was a no-nonsense father who was not shy about beating his children if they did something wrong. She said she was one of the naughty ones and would be beaten more often than the others. “Though I agree with those saying he was a loving and caring person, I also remember a side that only his children would know, because at home was a real father. He was always present when we made mistakes and he would beat us up as a form of correction. He could not take nonsense for anything. He raised us and our children and we always cried to him for anything. People who know me know that I used to drink and one day my father even refused that I get the inheritance after the death of the father of my child,” she said. Gamedze’s grandchildren however said their grandfather was a very soft person and a role model to them. “It is difficult to come to Siphofaneni knowing that I won’t be seeing our grandfather. He was a very soft person even though he was hard on his children, he was an excellent grandfather and good role model to us,” said the grandchildren. Gamedze will be laid to rest this morning at Siphofaneni.

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