A tribute lunch dedicated to Juby Mayet was hosted at the SABC in Johannesburg on April 23. Mmagauta Molefe, a comrade and fellow detainee shared this speed at the event.
|Juby Mayet (L), Mmagauta Mlefe (R)|
Activists, religious leaders, organisations, journalist, trade unionist and others in the 70’s were united under the banner of Black Consciousness, the movement that came up to occupy the empty political space left by the banning of the PAC and ANC.
This collective became targets of the apartheid regime, they were raided, harassed, banned, detained and even murdered. A number of you here, including Juby Mayet, are survivors of that era.
The fear instilled in the then system by the BC led 1976 June 16 uprisings and the organised action that was to happen against the establishment of the homeland Bophutatswana – led to the arrests and banning of various BC connected people, newspapers and organisations in 1977. A day now called Media Freedom day by this regime; I believe Black Consciousness day could have been appropriate.
The unity of people and organisations in the struggle at that time contributed to me associating with a number of journalists, including Juby Mayet. She was one of the sisters some of us looked up to. Off-course a number of people became journalists without any training.
Perhaps the passion to expose the system, heightened with creating awareness in our people inspired this.
And they did their job well.
There is a beautiful article, ‘Righting in the time of racism’ writtenby Subry Govender, I would like the youth to read.
I was also peddling in writing, ended up working for the Voice. Our political activities brought us together as black people across all spectrums.
As women writers, journalists and poets we tried to form some groupings, short story writing group by women, poetry group etc with the late Sina Kunene, Mamcane, Zodwa Mshibe, Ruth Bengu and the likes, most of the time being brought together by the organiser, Joyce Dube. Juby was the short story writer.
Juby; the mother, the activist suffered under the apartheid system but in the words of Napoleon Hill: “Persistence is the character of men as carbon is to steel”. You have been persistent, committed and alive.
Steve Biko said, “you are either alive and proud or you are dead”.
You never gave up. The commitment of the journalists of the 70’s redefined the role of the journalist and the media in the eyes of the community and also of the system, ‘you are either with us or with them’.
Your writing and stories defined you. That’s even how some people were exposed.
For us women in the struggle the fight was a tough one. Most of the time we were elected to being secretary and also given topics like the role of the women in the struggle. But still some women emerged.
You are our hero Juby. No doubt chances of you being honoured by this ANC government are slim, for most of them say they are the only people and party that fought in the struggle.
We have so many streets that still have to change names, but none will bear your name because you didn’t sell your soul like others by suddenly emerging and claiming you have been working for the ANC underground.
You will not have a monument because you were not part of the sell-out settlement that keeps enriching a few politically connected people, continues to commodify basic needs like education and keeps widening the gap between the rich and the poor.
And you will die average because you have not been part of the rampant corruption which is now a norm, even rubber stamped by commissions such as the recent released report of the Seriti commission.
This is sad Juby, my sister.
Andre Gide said, “Be faithful to which exist within you”. I know this is what kept you alive. You are free because you don’t have to explain anything to anybody.
Within yourself, around your children and your community you are known and recognised for your deeds, for your contributions, I am certain this makes you happy and satisfied.
It’s fulfilling to touch people’s lives positively, it does not matter the number.
You have also helped to sustain our former Old Fort detainees and prisoners’ women’s forum, Sizoya Sibuye.
I know it’s not doing so well now, because of your health you are now unable to give it your full attention. Your efforts there are highly appreciated.
For those who haven’t been, please visit No4 the women section to learn some history about former detainees there. Although the system is busy cutting and chopping it, I suspect some of us will be replaced because we not carrying the right card. Please visit now.
I am grateful to the organisers of this event, it is good to honour a person whilst they are still alive, and so one can know they’re appreciated.
Juby my sister, you have played your part, without doubt you are part of our political struggle history.
They harassed you, detained you and even banned you but you came out even stronger. I know you like saying you were not a freedom fighter, that you were a freedom writer, but know there are many different weapons in a war. Your pen was your weapon.
Today I want to first thank your family, your children for being there for you all the way, to also thank you as a friend, comrade and sister, and on behalf of the journalists, of women, children of Azania, I say to you All the best.