The late Sergeant Zolani Michael Xabanisa must have been smiling down on mourners on the day of his funeral.
Sergeant Xabanisa,51, or “Brigadier” as his acquaintances prefered to address him, passed away after a short illnes and was buried at the Eester Rivier Cemetery after a moving service held at Litha Park Methodist Church on Saturday.
Community activist, Nhonho Mtakatya said Xabanisa, a former Umkhonto Wesizwe(MK) cadre before enlisting for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), was a man of peace.
“He took up arms because he wanted a free country and he continued executing his duties with passion,” said Mtakatya.
SANDF’s Colonel Xaba hailed Xabanisa as a “dedicated soldier and choral music lover”.
“Sergeant Xabanisa was loved by colleagues because he was a committed man who enjoyed his work,” said Colonel Xaba.
He said they will remember him for his cooking and singing skills.
“He was responsible for feeding a lot of soldiers in our base, he was one of our best cooks. Our choir members have vowed to win a trophy in his honour when we go to the national choral competition later in the year,” said Xaba.
Major Thandeka Matanzima said most young soldiers learnt a lot from Sergeant Xabanisa.
“He was passionate about his duties and willing to impart skills to others. He leaves a void,” she said.
At the cemetery, his old comrades MK days literaly took over and buried their “Mike” with freedom songs, unleashing a torrent of memories harking back to their days in the trenches.
Xabanisa is survived by hsi wife, Nomasango, son Thapela and his mother. Hamba kahle Radebe!