Eulogy delivered by Mr Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, MP and UDM Deputy President at the memorial Service of Councillor Mongameli Bobani held in Port Elizabeth on 17 November 2020
National leaders of the UDM here today,
Provincial UDM office bearers,
Regional leaders of the UDM,
UDM public representatives and
The UDM family at large.
Mrs Bobani and the Bobani children, family and friends.
I am humbled to speak on behalf of the UDM, its leadership and its President, Mr Bantu Holomisa, who unfortunately cannot be here today, but he will show his respects at the funeral on Thursday. Thank you for allowing me the honour.
We are here on sad business.
Today, at this memorial service we as the United Democratic Movement (UDM), gather to say goodbye to our Councillor Mongameli Bobani.
We are heartbroken to have lost one of our own and we mourn a fallen comrade. This is right; we must do so, and we do this with much sadness in our hearts.
He was ripped away from us far too soon and still had so many years ahead of him, which in part makes his death so hard to handle.
But we are also here to reflect on and celebrate the life of Tshangisa and the lifetime’s worth of work he did for the UDM and here, for the people in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.
Mongameli Bobani and his wife have been part of the UDM in Port Elizabeth since the early days and he served in various leadership positions in the party in the region and in the province, with the highest position attained that of chairperson of the province.
He certainly was a gregarious man who always had high energy levels, even as he got to his middle-years.
We will always remember his undaunting sense of humour, as well as his boisterous and infectious laughter.
He had a way of putting things, especially in isiXhosa, that engaged people. Most notably, one of the most common comments on Twitter, when people found out of his passing away, was that they are going to miss his tweets.
In all fairness, it was not always plain sailing with Councillor Bobani and he sometimes made leadership in the party a challenging prospect. He certainly was a hard-nosed political adversary and did not take things lying down. It was all engines go with him, all the time, with a single-minded focus on his goalpost.
He was an operator.
He did not mind being confrontational either.
These characteristics of his sometimes made him hard to deal with and even quite unpopular at times, even when his heart was in the right place. But it also made him very good at his chosen profession.
Mongameli Bobani had a long and distinguished career as a UDM councillor in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. He did this for 17 long years! This is a grand milestone in any public servant’s career.
He of course had the honour of serving the people of this community as Deputy Executive Mayor and, most recent, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Infrastructure and Engineering.
Councillor Bobani however had a very rough time representing the UDM in the coalition post-2016 and there were many lessons learnt. Many of them very unpleasant, but lessons learnt nonetheless.
He in the end sacrificed his life for the people of this metro, as he was on the ground attending to service delivery issues and that is how he contracted Covid-19.
A man of the people, who lived his life for the people, sacrificed his life in their service.
He leaves an enormous gap in our lives here at the UDM and we will have to work hard to fill the very big shoes he leaves behind.