The African National Congress(ANC) in the Eastern Cape joins the rest of our province and the mass democratic movement in mourning the passing on of the former leader of COSAS, Comrade Xola Lengs.Cde Lengs passed away on the 17th January 2019 at the age of 55 years after a long illness.
Cde Lengs worked closely with comrades in many programmes and campaigns towards the transformation of education in our country. The introduction of age limit by the apartheid Bantu Education to exclude African children from furthering the education further inspired Xola to become part of the students who fearlessly resisted and fought against the racialized education system.
Because of his leadership skills and political interest, he mobilised students under the banner of COSAS with “EACH ONE TEACH ONE”. He worked side by side with gallant fighters and student leaders such as late Andile Yawa, Madoda Luse, Vuyani Vena, Sheya Kulati (may their souls rest in peace), and Richard Kasika.
In 1984 when the leadership of COSAS was arrested and charged, Xola assumed leadership role where they worked under the guidance of the seasoned and experienced leadership of Lulu Johnson, Nocawe Nondumo, Temba Mangqase and Mzolisi Dyasi. During that time there were ongoing student struggles with the Department of Education under Bill Staude. Consequently, he was instrumental in organizing the student’s protests against Staude and the entire apartheid education system which took the form of boycotts, stayways and mass protests at the Department of Education.
It was also due to the guiding principle of COSAS that before you are a student you’re a member of the community, and indeed Xola participated in various community structures of the time such Port Elizabeth Youth Congress ( PEYCO) Parents Crisis Committee and local UDF structures. This made him to attract the attention of the security forces and resulted in him being detained on various occasions including briefly under the state emergency.
On his release from detention, he registered for a B A degree at Vista University and continued to participate in South African National Student Congress(SANSCO) where he distinguished himself as a reliable, dedicated and dependable student activist in the struggle for a transformation of tertiary institutions of learning. The recent victories for a free tertiary education and transformation of University Councils and Senates are a vindication and validation of his personal struggles and sacrifices.
We will miss his militancy and radicalism during his time leading COSAS in the former Port Elizabeth region.Indeed death has robbed us a leader of our mass democratic movement. Our sincere condolences to his family, friends and comrades.
He survived by his brother Mzwandile, his kids Zine, Aluta, Uluntu and Lilitha, 6 grandchildren, two aunts and a number of relatives.
Mzukulwana wo Gaba, o Cihoshe. Hamba kakuhle Nozulu, Kheswa, Mpangazitha, Mpafana, Mchumane, Mbanguba, Thukela, Mlambo awuwelwa uwelwa zinkonjane zodwa.
May his soul rest in peace.
His funeral will be on Saturday , 2 February 2019 at Ginsberg, King Williams Town.
ANC Eastern Cape Communications
ANC Media & Liaison Officer
Mobile No: 0636878267/0731176194
Head of Communications