The body of Swaziland democracy activist Sipho Jele has finally been buried.
His funeral took place on Saturday (22 May 2010) at the second attempt. The first funeral last week was disrupted by Swazi police who tore up photographs of Jele that were displayed by his coffin and confiscated banners supporting the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) which is banned in Swaziland.
Saturday’s funeral was attended by what PUDEMO called ‘intimidating and hostile battalion of royal police’.
In a statement PUDEMO saluted:
- The Jele family that stood its ground in the face of a hostile intimidation by the royal police and the local traditional authority.
- The labour and civic organizations that braved the state brutality and showed solidarity with both PUDEMO and Cde Jele in this fearful era under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. This sent a clear indication to the oppressive regime in Swaziland that the people are now prepared to challenge and defy all oppressive laws that are meant to entrench the hegemony of the royal regime in Swaziland .
- The church, under the umbrella of the Council of Swaziland Churches for fearlessly standing by the oppressed masses in their hour of need with the understanding that a physically oppressed nation cannot be spiritually free.
- The rural masses of Ncabaneni for their defiance of all the intimidation and threats to discourage them from attending Cde Jele’s funeral as he was branded a ‘political criminal.’
PUDEMO said, ‘Now the people have grown to understand that Cde Jele and PUDEMO are not terrorists, but committed and humble people of Swaziland that wish to see their people living under democratic conditions that will fully guarantee them all their rights.’