Family and friends statement on the first anniversary of the death of Cedric Mayson (1927 – 2015)

On 23 May 2016, it is one year since a husband, comrade, friend, father, grand and great-grandfather died. A fellow activist, Marvyn Bennun, wrote at the time of his death, “People like him can’t die so long as South Africans have memories and are prepared to remember. He was a man with a clear conscience”. We will not forget that you gave your life for freedom and equality. You endured arrests, torture, imprisonment, banning and exile without complaint or self-pity. Every time they smacked you down, you stood up, ready for the next battle. Those who risk their very life for others in the pursuit of freedom and equality are few, but Cedric was one of them.

Cedric was not alone. With countless others in the underground, he organised mass resistance, secretly produced and distributed literature and spirited fugitives across borders. His considerable writings challenged the complacency and ties to privilege that, he said, compromised much of the Christian Church and its leaders. During his years in the underground, Cedric also built important links between the internal and external parts of the liberation movement.

To remember Cedric on 23 May has added import. He worked until old age within the ANC to keep the organization’s moral compass on course. Sadly, during his last years, he shook his head in disbelief as he saw the former noble goals being replaced with brazen avarice, corruption and forsaking the poor in whose name the organisation once said it based its strength upon.

Since Cedric’s death the sloth has rapidly progressed. The Bill of Rights, Chapter Nine institutions and tenets of our Constitution are undermined and are being compromised with increasing haste. Cedric no longer witnesses the further fragmentation of the ANC or the ever deeper mire President Zuma is dragging the country into, with his powerful financial friends and his refusal to recognise that he, together with a lobby of fellow politicians, are now the very obstacle to the realisation of what we fought for. Cedric felt, and would still feel, betrayed, as countless others do.

His memory shall remain an inspiration for all those now engaged in the rescue from the situation we are in. When Cedric saw the dark clouds coming, his conscience was clear as ever. Were he with us, he would be back on the barricades demanding justice and equality for the poor in an open and democratic South Africa!

This was contributed at my request by Cedric’s closest friend and confidante Horst Kleinschmidt, who has now become an honorary member of the Mayson family. Without the guidance of the family (including our family community in the bush here in Marloth Park), I do not know how I would have been able to cope during the past year. All I am certain of is that the family support, whether by blood line or kindred spirit, has been a guiding compass in me being able to get through the months. I am deeply grateful and thank you all.

So as we remember this day, we shall also, in a time honoured family fashion, light a candle and raise a tot in his memory.

Penelope Mayson

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Former President of the Republic of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe

Please accept my deeply felt condolences on the passing of Reverend Cedric Mayson.

As a spiritual person driven by deep Christian convictions, Reverend Mayson was a complete human being, a true devotee to the principles of justice and equality, as well as a believer in the vision of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, just and democratic South Africa.

Reverend Mayson was a man of the courage of his convictions whose commitment to the struggle and development of South Africa did not falter.

He served the cause of our freedom and democracy, playing an instrumental role not only in creating the necessary space to bridge the divide during apartheid oppression, including helping support the process that drafted the Kairos Document, but also, in questioning the very moral basis of apartheid, from a Christian point of view.

At a personal level, losing a loving father and a dedicated member of the family is always a heart-wrenching experience for any family.

Please take comfort from the fact that his was a worthy life that enriched humanity, for which he will always be fondly remembered.
He will be missed by the African National Congress and our nation as a whole.
Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with you at this point in your life.

May his soul rest in everlasting peace!

KGALEMA MOTLANTHE
Former President of the Republic of South Africa
28 May 2015

ANC Statement

Johannesburg, Sunday 24 May 2015

The African National Congress is saddened by the passing on of Reverend Cedric Radcliffe Mayson yesterday, 23 May 2015 following an illness.

Reverend Cedric Mayson was born in the United Kingdom in 1927. He came to South Africa as a Methodist Minister in 1953 and served as a Minister in the Methodist Church
from 1953 until 1974. He also served as a full time member of the Christian Institute from 1974 until 1977 the Institute initiated the KAIROS document.

Reverend Mayson was banned in 1977 when the Christian Institute was banned along with Dr Beyers Naude and Rev Theo Kotze. He was detained twice, the first on his honeymoon in 1976 and the second in November 1981, He was subsequently charged with High Treason. In February 1983 he fled to the UK after the judge had granted him bail when the State had not been able to prove its case to the Court. While he was in exile he served the interface between political and religious groups, and did much travelling and work with and for the ANC in exile.

On his indemnity in 1991 and return to SA in 1992, he served with the Faith and Mission department of the SACC. His last post was with the Religious desk of the ANC as the Convener of the Commission for Religious Affairs. He was also involved in the World Conference for Religion and Peace.

Reverend Mayson was the author of three books and many articles as well as being the Host of the Religious Progamme Credo for two years at the SABC.

The African National Congress sends its condolences to his wife Penelope (Thandi), Sons Andrew, Tim, Peter, David, daughters Kim, Phillipa, Jude (Bongi) and Laura and Mayson family at large. Reverend Mayson lived a remarkable life dedicated to his faith and the struggle of the South African people. May his soul rest in everlasting peace.

Issued by
Zizi Kodwa
National Spokesperson
African National Congress

Horst Kleinschmidt

Until just a few years ago, Cedric worked in Luthuli House defending that which was good and upright in the ANC. In the end he was disappointed and knew that the values and hopes of our generation, and a whole nation, had been substantially squandered and mired in elitism and ill-gotten gains.

Cedric was important in my life. I was his first contraband ‘parcel’ that he flew out of South Africa, to deposit me in a mealie field somewhere near Molepolole in Botswana. In a previous time parishioners of Cedric’s had taught him how to fly. He relied on these parishioners favours to loan him their small aircraft. In the end he flew some 20 people out of the country – as in my case, to avoid further detention and because our passports had been withdrawn, the reason why the ‘parcel’ alternative was developed. In detention Cedric was treated harshly for these and many other heroic and selfless acts. His impaired hearing had to do with the assaults his interrogators inflicted on him.

Cedric edited the Christian Institute magazine Pro Veritate for several years, where he introduced an increasingly radical tone, responding to the dark times we were entering then. He must be remembered for not giving up on working for a better South Africa and a better world till the end. He and Penelope shunned comfort and material well-being, to live an honest life, and one that expressed solidarity with those whose lot in our vastly unequal world sought to change.

Please see Horst’s full tribute to Cedric in his address from the funeral.

Brian Brown

Horst has informed me of Cedric’s death following a period of ill health and diminishing strength. Marion joins me in the conveying of love and sympathy at this time.

We went back a long way – the early 1960s in Nelspruit in fact. Cedric was my ‘superintendent’ minister in what was my first appointment, but from the outset it was the friendship of equals. Cedric didn’t do rank or hierarchy! The friendship was cemented of course in the CI and PV years and our shared banning era.

Unlike many, Cedric not only dreamed the dream but lived it! Over a lifetime of ministry he remained my mentor in teaching that the essence of discipleship was an obsession with social justice, or Kingdom values as he would have said in earlier years. I am ever grateful.

I recall a time when Cedric and I were being interrogated together at John Vorster Square. We played ‘imaginary cricket’ with each other while bemused SB officers looked on. It was our way of asserting that we were not victims but survivors and I shall ever honour his spirit of courage, hope and commitment.

May you know strength and consolation.

Our Loving Thoughts.

Geoff Budlender

I was so sorry to hears this sad news. I had heard from Horst that Cedric was not well.

He was an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life – and lived it to the full. I will always remember his passion for justice, his courage, and his capacity for wry humour at times of stress. You were blessed to have had each other. I wish you every strength at this sad time.

James R Cochrane

It is a pain to think of Cedric as no longer there.

Now I am just very sad. Cedric has always been for me an exemplar of integrity and honesty, more so in some ways even than Beyers, a person of true faith where so many others have failed.

I remember fondly the many occasions I was welcomed in your home and the confidence and trust that was there. I thank you for that.

And I wish you very well as you move forward, now without Cedric, but I hope with family and friends that will fill at least some of a deep gap.

With warm wishes.

Emmanuelle Daviaud

Cedric was somebody that I admired from the time Malcolm told me what he had been doing, and my admiration remained the same after he arrived in England and then back to South-Africa. His unweavering principles, strength and humanity were clearly exceptional. But also these characters would not have taken shape as they did without your loving strength your support.

I hope you will be able to find acceptation and peace.

A very very warm hug.