Today marks 30 years since the passing of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, the founder and first president of the Pan Africanist Congress.
I was just 13 years old in 1978 but I understood that a giant in the struggle against apartheid was gone.
Sobukwe was a close family friend in the years he spent under house arrest in Kimberley. My father devoted much of his time to driving Sobukwe anywhere he needed to go.
And my mother often sewed his clothes between meals at our kitchen table.
My memories of the man are many. I have written here about his influence on my life, my career choice, and my politics.
One of my most enduring memories is of Prof, as he was affectionately known, playing ball with the kids in our street.
The kids loved Prof. And he loved them.
I once heard my mother tell him that he should do this and that when he became president of free Azania (South Africa). He just laughed and said that he did not want to be president.
"I want to return to the classroom," he said.
Those words stuck with me. I have come to understand the power of the classroom. It is a place where minds are made to reason and think critically.
Prof in these terms was the greatest of teachers. And he continues to teach even as we struggle through these post-apartheid years.
I miss the man I called Uncle Robert for all of my childhood.
May he be recognized for the intellectual giant he was, and may God rest his soul!