Steve Biko’s close friend has fallen
Jones succumbed to multiple strokes, the major one of which hit him in 2019 when he was on holiday in Mauritius.
‘If Steve Biko found us in this condition, he would cry’ – Azapo
‘A tear that refuses to drop,” was the reply of Peter Cyril Jones, 72, when he was asked how he felt about the loss of his comrade Bantu Biko.
That tear dropped on 15 February, when Jones succumbed to multiple strokes, the major one of which hit him in 2019 when he was on holiday in Mauritius.
On Wednesday at 9am, he was cremated and his ashes delivered home at 12am. His ashes will be scattered in the Atlantic Ocean.
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Some structure of remembrance will be housed at the Steve Biko Centre in Ginsberg to reunite him with Biko. It is right that his ashes will be scattered into the sea.
He loved the sea and its creatures. But he also cared for human life. That is why he was a volunteer lifesaver at Kogel Bay in the Western Cape.
He could do that because he was as fit as a fiddle and as strong as an ox. Through his NGO, the Masifundise Development Trust, this freedom fighter and lifesaver fought for the poor fishermen to assert their fishing rights and quotas on the western coastline.
The creatures on land were so important to Jones that he was troubled by the displacement of the families that were running away from the political infighting in Mbekweni in Paarl.
This was in the mid-1980s. At that time, there were unoccupied sites with toilet structures in Site B in Khayelitsha.
He quickly organised resources and bought building material for the displaced to settle in Site B. Azapo chair in Mbekweni, Monelo Bongo, was accommodated at the Jones residence for over a year.
‘A community developer’
Community development was in his blood, a skill and value he learned from working with Biko in the Black Consciousness Movement.
Self-help projects for the poor black communities were in keeping with the principles and values of self-determination, self-reliance, self-initiative and self-assertiveness.
Jones combined with his Azapo comrades Pandelani Nefolovhodwe, Monelo Bongo and Hlako Rachidi to establish a rural development NGO called Is’baya, which was working to train small-scale farmers to thrive in the farming sector and develop into commercial farmers.
They worked with 15 villages in the OR Tambo district in the Eastern Cape. As an accountant by profession, Jones imparted his business skills.
Azapo has engaged the state to honour Jones with an official funeral. The president has responded and offered a provincial funeral category 2.
-Qekema is the president of Azapo