The ANC Eastern Cape PEC mourns the passing on of our liberation struggle hero, Comrade Boyce Phindile Soci. Cde Soci was born on the 27th April 1948 at Duncan Village in East London. He passed away on the 22nd November 2017 after a short illness.
The Congress movement has lost one of the finest comrade, a back-bone of the revolution amongst revolutionary leaders whose humility and exemplary leadership represented the best forms of the true traditions and culture of our national liberation movement.
We convey our heartfelt condolences to his family, relatives and friends. Our Province and the people appreciate their generosity for having given us such a distinguished selfless and the most loyal servant of our revolution. Comrade Soci was a true revolutionary leader whose ideas contributed to the cause of our struggle for the liberation of our people and will forever inspire the generations of man to come.
He will be counted in the history books as amongst those heroes and heroines of our struggle who volunteered their entire life for the cause of the freedom and dignity of our people.
Anecdotes from his Comrades
Political Military Activist (MK)
Cde Mike Ntsomboyi was instructed by Chris Hani in 1981 to command all units in Mdantsane; however, Cde Mike was reluctant as the area was vast and information between units had to manage information then Cde Mike was introduced to Cde Boyce for them to work together. Unit leaders of the trade union (SACTU), MK, ANC reported to an Aerial Political Committee. Cde Boyce Soci was then recommended to join the SACP through Cde Moses Mabida; Cde Boyce was given an instruction to report directly in Lesotho, and was then tasked to form units of the SACP in the Border region. He proved to be a disciplined as all cadres who were harboured through him were never sold out to the enemy.Amongst his major tasks was to build unity between the factions of youth and women organisations within the East London area and the Border region.
A Trade Unionist Activist
I met Boyce Soci “Bra Benz” in 1980 at Mercedes Benz South Africa. The period was immediately after the extension of Trade union rights to Black South Africans through the Nic.Wiehahn Commission, which was a Governments response to spontaneous strikes throughout the Country in the early 1970s. They (the Government) wanted to control these activities by requiring unions to register and thus whenever there was a strike the Apartheid minister of labour was a final arbiter and his voice was final. The motto of SAAWU was that we were to defy the need for registration of our union as we believed that since we didn’t have franchise (voting) rights we felt that the minister would never be neutral, hence the slogan no vote no registration.
The system never relented once it saw this and responded by constantly arresting and trumping charges against the leadership of the Union. It responded through sponsoring it’s Unions who were nothing but vigilante unions to harass activists (UWUSA being but one example). Because of this union space it became a focal ground to pursue underground political education activities of the ANC and Mk resulting in many Union Members joining Mk movement. By MK Rubushe
A fellow combatant, Phaki Ximiya wrote “I am really saddened by the news of the departure of Boyce (Benz) Soci He leaves at an awkward time when our Movement is at cross-roads, very much in need of genuine revolutionaries like him. Boyce Soci falls amongst the many unsung heroes of the South African struggle. I was fortunate to have worked with him inside the country. He was a dedicated and much disciplined warrior, a cadre of a special type of the African National Congress and SACTU who loved his people. “
‘’He was my SACTU commander during my underground activities inside the country in 1985 and 1986. I took instructions from him and it was never about him or for self-benefit when he participated in the noble struggle for the liberation of the people of South Africa. He risked his life, setting up underground structures of the ANC and SACTU, harbouring and transporting guerrillas inside the country. He together with Zweli Bikitsha, Jeff Wabena, Priscilla Maxongo, Arnold Stofile, and Eric Mntonga are some of the people who took care of me underground in Alice and Mdantsane in 1985. At the time we were concerned about the formation of COSATU and we were pushing for a single federation of trade unions. ‘’
‘’In 1986 he was detained at the Ficksburg border gate as we were entering the country from Lesotho with Vusi Pikoli. He never sold us out or exposed our position as he drove past us secured by the security forces of the then Apartheid regime. I shall forever be indebted to him for the way he took care of my stay inside the country as an ANC guerrilla. I am alive and able to tell the story today because of his self- sacrifice. Hamba kahle Mkhonto, hamba uyokuphumla gorha lo mzabalazo wenkululeko yabantu, ugqatso ulufezile”. By Phaki Ximiya
‘’Comrade Benz, as we called him, has an illustrious history that spans from being an activist at Daimler Chrysler, organising the youth, participating in UDF as well as involved in ANC underground activities – a feat very few have achieved. This is a feat he also trained a lot other on to master such complex activities whilst advancing the struggle for liberation. ‘’
‘’Comrade Soci, though he was never a shop steward, provided leadership to the workers at Daimler Chrysler as if he was a shop steward during the time of SAAWU as well NUMSA. He earned respect from the shop stewards and workers such that his influence was always felt up to management levels’’. By Cde Sisa Njikelana
Comrade William Sincayi had this to say about his close comrade “The Movement has lost one of its fine Cadres in Comrade Soci, a trail blazer in his own right. ‘’
‘’Personally I met him in BAWU, Black Workers Union in 1979 which in 1980 changed to SAAWU i.e. South African and Allied Workers Union to accommodate the concept of Non Racialism.’’
‘’He dedicated his life to serving the People in general and Workers. He had a great passion for robust debates to avoid an intellectual decline and bolster the capacity of the Organisation. Typical of all SAAWU Members the Comrade handled workers money with great care given the fact that we never enjoyed stop order facilities and we had hand collections from members each member paying Two Rand (R2:00) per week.”
Given the dual nature of our struggle in line with in SA we were confronted with the National Oppression as a Nation and simultaneously being faced with Economic Exploitation as a Class Comrade Soci with his high Revolutionary discipline managed to successfully and in a sustainable manner served in the underground structures of the ANC. It will be remembered that there was a time when there was a dire need of soldiers with working back ground to swell the ranks of Umkhonto We Sizwe. Cde Soci of course alongside many other SAAWU Members were at hand to be of service to the ANC. ‘’
‘’I am sure we all still carry memories about the United Democratic Front to turn the tide against the Racist Apartheid Regime when it cajoled Indians and Coloureds as Junior Partners in the Tri-cameral Parliament in 1983 Cde. Soci never shrieked his responsibility even then.’’
Towards late 80’s the ANC leadership in Lusaka identified what it termed a Political Stagnation /Political Paralysis in the Border Region and Comrade Soci was among those that were summoned to Lusaka, among those were the late Rev.Stofile,Mfengu Makalima, Rufus Rwexu, Andrew Hendricks, Luscile Meyer, the Late Priscilla Maxongo Mike Basopu,the late Jeff Mabena and William Sincayi to mention those I remember; Cde.Soci at all material time sought solutions to challenges and would never be part of such challenges and would always agitate for contradictions to dealt with expeditiously so that they don’t become antagonistic.’’ We have truely lost a stalwart in the true sense of the word”. By William Sincayi.
A Youth Inspiration
Comrade Boyce was instrumental in the formation of the East London Youth Congress in 1983. Together with comrades Mtyanti Msauli, Galelekile Sitho, they were volunteer organizers who extensively participated in the Political Education Committee. Political schools took place on Saturday’s; none of the Youth Congress folk dare to miss due to the attention-grabber, instructive articulation that Commissar Soci brought to those classes. The most famous basic Subject of those classes was ‘the Freedom Charter; the History of the ANC and its Alliance partners; the role of the five sectors of society, particularly the Youth. In these classes the 4 Pillars of the Revolution adopted in the Morogoro National Consultative Conference set the direction towards mobilization, organization and action. Some of the mature members emerging out of this political school were therefore recruited to fulfil the Underground Pillar and especially sent to join the ANC Umkhonto Wesizwe.
Cde Gidla Nombewu, a former ELYCO leader remembers Bra Benz “Within the ELYCO he established cells of trusted cadres that were to serve as base for safe houses and those that must leave and join the MK”.
Boyce followed and read extensively about revolutions of other countries and sought to emulate the experiences of the Vietnamese. His love for the Working Class and educating young people; as Ho Chi Minh puts it “The education and training of future revolutionary generations is thus being Boyce’s daily focus. “A year begins with spring. A life begins with youth. Youth is the spring of society. Enthusiasm, vitality and creative capacity are the strength and resource of youth. As the large and powerful reserve and successor in the Vietnamese revolution and the future masters of the country, the younger generations, first of all youths, have the responsibility to succeed the revolutionary cause and realise the glorious historical mission that their predecessors handed to them. The country will prosper or become decadent, strong or weak, depending very much on the youth. Ho Chi Minh affirmed that the youth had to be a major and steady force in the national resistance war and the national construction process. They must give the revolutionary strength to the older generations, and be in the frontline of the economic and cultural development and building of socialism process” Bra Benz believed and heeded to the legend ‘Make every family unit an MK unit’; he also recruited young people of his own family; his brothers who mostly were mobile, sons of his brothers and sisters to become activist couriers, combatants and members of various youth formations.
Comrades of SANCO remember Cde Soci as among the front runners in the establishment of Mdantsane Residents Association and became the leader of its NU 1 Branch up until the unbanning of the ANC when he became the Chairperson of the ANC NU1 branch.
In memory of this outstanding son of our national liberation movement we will defend, deepen and advance the cause of the struggle of our people. We will make sure that we carry forward the noble ideas he fought and volunteered his life for. We will make sure that we defend our people, our movement and our revolution.
Comrade Boyse Soci leaves behind his loving wife (uNothembile) his daughter (Pumla), his bother Mitchel and grandchildren.
Memorial Service will be held on the Thursday, 30th November 2017 at NU 1 Community Hall in Mdantsane, starting at 15h00.
Funeral service will be held on Saturday, 2nd December 2017 at Twecu Village (Tsholomnqa) starting at 09h00.
Hamba kahle Faku, Nyawuza, Ndayeni, Thahla ka Dakile
ANC EC Communications
For more information please contact:
ANC Eastern Cape Media & Liaison Officer
Mobile No: 0731176194/0636878267