Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has paid tribute to a "revolutionary cleric" who is remembered for his rallying cry of "Via, Jesus, Viva!" at church services in the Eastern Cape.
The Revd Canon Mcebisi Xundu, a prominent cleric in the Anglican Diocese of Port Elizabeth and an activist in the struggle against apartheid, died in Port Elizabeth last week at the age of 80. He had also been a United Democratic Front campaigner in KwaZulu/Natal in the 1980s, and spent periods in detention in both KwaZulu/Natal and the former Transkei.
Adding to a tribute paid by Bishop Bethlehem Nopece of Port Elizabath, Archbishop Makgoba said:
"Canon Xundu was a revolutionary cleric and a great son of this church. He was not always easy to get along with, but his faith was characterised by a disciplined and deep spirituality.
"A writer and a thinker, he was in the vanguard of the quest for social justice. Not shy to express his partisan political affiliation, he taught us as church to think, to weep alongside our people and to be bold in the quest for justice. When I visited him at his home recently, he gave me a new booklet challenging his beloved ANC.
"On behalf of the church in Southern Africa, we express our sympathy to his family."
Bishop Nopece said in his tribute: "For us it is a great loss to lose a man of this calibre. Canon Xundu was very vocal when our church was quiet during apartheid. Our condolences to the family, friends and to the ANC, and we assure them of our prayers.”
President Jacob Zuma's office today announced that Canon Xundu's funeral had been declared a "Provincial Official Funeral", and that the president had directed that the national flag should be flown at half-mast at all stations in the Eastern Cape province on Thursday, the day of his funeral.