In loving memory of Mncedisi Mbatha Campaign
Mncedisi Mbatha, also known as “Mr Big”, was a loving husband, a beloved father, a tireless activist, a warm and hilarious friend, whose love, compassion, and comradeship will be dearly missed. He passed away 24 November 2023 in Khayelitsha, after a long battle against diabetes and related complications.
Mr Big was born 9 February 1972 in the township of New Brighton, Port-Elizabeth. Coming from a family linked to the African National Congress and involved in the anti-apartheid struggle, Mr Big joined the civics movement when he was still a teenager. Together with the comrades, he secured the streets, made sure police incursions got detected for township dwellers to defend themselves against a racist and authoritarian government. Mr Big helped regaining political control over the townships, and participated in setting up the foundations of democracy in South Africa. From this early experience, he cultivated a very strong sense of comradeship, a thirst for direct democracy, an unchallenged will to develop participatory and emancipatory political practices.
Mr Big settled in Khayelitsha in 2000. He married Thozama, also known as Winnie, in 2003. He developed social programmes directed to the youth. Such events had a tremendous impact and helped fighting against substance abuse, curving interpersonal violence dynamics, promoting peace, tolerance and diversity. One just has to walk around Khayelitsha and ask about Mr Big to measure the extent of the respect and love he bestowed upon himself. This is particularly the case in Shukushukuma, an informal settlement where Mr Big first implemented his programmes. People of Shukushukuma still vividly remember the good Mr Big did in their area. They describe him as a man of peace devoted to the working class, who would always give his all to uplift the underprivileged youth.
Mr Big’s social programmes had an important echo in Khayelitsha and beyond. Various grassroot and progressive organizations then head-hunted him for the quality of his social activism. That was soon after May 2008, when xenophobic attacks occurred all over the country, and against which Mr Big took a strong public stand in Khayelitsha. While he managed to limit the impact of such attacks in his area, Mr Big remained alarmed by rising dynamics of xenophobic violence in South Africa. For that reason, he joined ARESTA, the Agency for Refugee Education Skills Training and Advocacy in 2009. He soon became the programme director of a massive and unprecedented "anti-xenophobia campaigns". For more than ten years, Mr Big relentlessly visited schools around capetonian townships, to educate learners and communities about refugees’ rights, to promote tolerance and dialogue. Faithful to the revolutionnary tradition set up by the Freedom Charter in 1955, Mr Big always reminded his audiences that “South Africa belongs to all the people who live it” and that all residents should enjoy the same degree of rights and freedom, regardless of their places of birth. As a freedom fighter during apartheid, Mr Big participated in bringing down the walls of racism and intolerance and in setting the fondations of democracy. As a social activist and a public educator going under the moto “Ubuntu has no borders”, Mr Big created bridges of peace, empathy and compassion between communities, and helped consolidating the pillars of South Africa’s young democracy. In the current times, as discrimination and predatory practices against non-South Africans are becoming all but too common, Mr Big’s social and political legacy of inclusiveness and tolerance remain a great inspiration for us all, and shall never be forgotten!
My name is Rodolphe Demeestère. I am a French academic who worked as Mr Big's trainees at ARESTA. As a sociologist, I benefited from Mr Big's constant support and got the immense priviledge to live with Mr Big's family in Khayelitsha for two years. Mr Big was a socialist, a man of the people. He was also a loving husband and a devoted father of four daughters – Zizipho, Nanziwe, Phelo, Siyanda -, and two sons – Sibusiso and Iviwe.This campaign aims at financially relieving the Mbatha's. My goal is to raise enough money for Mr Big's children to carry on with their studies, embrace their dreams, and shine as their father did.
Fundraising targetR 50 000.00
Donations to dateR 13 329.09
Mnisi wemvula ilanga libalele.
Descending from a family of great freedom fighters, Mncedisi, the "helper/assistant" in isi-Xhosa, carried both the knowledge and humbleness of those who remain close to the people. An immense loss for South Africa. Lala ngoxolo tata.
Mr Big did a lot for me and I owe many of my skills to his life teachings. Greetings to you beautiful people: Winnie, Phelo, Siya, and little Martin who has grown up so fast.
Mr. Big was a light to all who knew him. His years of experience and his steadfastness in the face of a challenge were always motivating, enlightening and inspiring to me. My deepest condolences to the Mbatha family.
Mr. Big was a force of a person. Good in all ways. Inspired hope and positivity in everyone he met.
Mr Big was an incredibly energetic, committed, funny and friendly man and I will remember him as such. I am wishing you and your family courage and peace during this time of mourning.
Xolani Mbatha donated R 2 000 via In loving memory of Mncedisi Mbatha
30 Jan 2024 R 2 000
Anonymous donated US $ 145 via In loving memory of Mncedisi Mbatha
07 Jan 2024 US $ 145
Anonymous donated US $ 118 via In loving memory of Mncedisi Mbatha
30 Dec 2023 US $ 118
Anonymous donated US $ 22 via In loving memory of Mncedisi Mbatha
21 Dec 2023 US $ 22
Gianna donated US $ 54 via In loving memory of Mncedisi Mbatha
14 Dec 2023 US $ 54