“WOW - this really is goodbye!
I’ve blinked and it’s 20 years down the road and time for me to to find out if - as Mario Ambrosini used to say -  there is actually ‘life after Parliament’.  Just to reassure you though - I am hoping to prove there is.

Nothing I could say today will come close to conveying how incredibly grateful I am for the opportunity I have had to serve the people of South Africa as a member of the National Assembly.  It has been an honor and a privilege to work along side everyone of you, members, officials and staff - thank You!


The first day I stood at this podium and thanked God for this opportunity was the day I met Prof Ishmail Mohammed - he had written me a letter of encouragement and we went on to work together on the minerals and energy PC chaired by Duma Nkosi and organized by Tanya Lyons who is an official today.  Both set the highest of standard of excellence in their work which I benefited from.  These were just some of my many heroes and mentors over 20 years, who have both sat in these benches and served members of parliament.


The first time I encountered Kader Asmal - then Minister of Education - he had called out to me across the Old Assembly - inviting me to join the Education Portfolio Committee. Unlike Prof Mohommad - a committed Catholic - Prof Asmal was by his description- a committed humanist.  Of course we bumped heads and exchanged words - which we both enjoyed - and became good friends in the process.  Ben Turock, another giant - got my attention by tearing my speech to pieces in the most eloquent way in a debate.  I so wanted to respond with clever cutting words but managed to remember I would do better to learn from him - and we too, became fast friends. I am also remembering people like Moss Chikane and Alf Mpontshane from our days in Zimbabwe in the year 2000 - and so many other remarkable people who have left an indelible mark on my life through the years.  Committee Chairs from Minister Pandor and Prof Myatula - who so wisely prefaced his sentences with the words “seated where I am seated” - to Hon Masango and Hon Cappa who have been an inspiration.


Speaker Mbete - in my eyes a champion of parliamentary oversight at a time when oversight in the ANC was seriously... not popular!  Also unlike me - who competed in a ‘mans world’ by playing down who I was as a female - Speaker Mbete by contrast -courageously embraced being a female in every detail, in her work. I was at fist alarmed but curious enough to try it - nothing short of revolutionary! I could go on and on about so many amazing characters, like Joan Fubbs, Mike Waters, Kent Durr, and ...yes wait for it...even Jacob Zuma...but I will stop there and - write that book!


I do just have to tell you quickly though - about my first day ever - in committee. I walked in fairly self-conscious and saw a space to my right - between a row of ‘white males’ - and feeling a sense of being ‘pigeon holed’ I quickly sat in the space on my left - not realizing the seating protocol - I was right in the middle of the majority party. As they jumped away on either side of me - I realized my ‘white face’ was not just a disadvantage but an offense.  In that moment of rejection I understood something very important- hateful angry words and actions, often aimed in my direction, came from a place where open wounds, rejection and deep hurts were buried. I knew I had to have the courage to face and hear that pain - and not run from it.  I grew to love you all - which in some ways made my job easier and in other ways so much harder - I really did not want to fight with you - and you all LOVE FIGHTING SO MUCH!


I want to thank My PA Mongezi Mabungane who has been a rare treasure - and all the other precious people who work, and have worked in our ACDP offices.  Thank you also Steve Swart and Kenneth Meshoe for bravely putting up with me and allowing me to stretch your patience and your thinking - so much appreciated!


And now I leave you with these words - sung by
 Frank Sinatra , Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald.

There are many many crazy things
That will keep me loving you
And with your permission
May I list a few
The way you wear your hat
The way you sip your tea
The memory of all that
No, no they can't take that away from me
The way your smile just beams
The way you sing off key
The way you haunt my dreams
No, no they can't take that away from me
 
We may or may not meet again, on that bumpy road of life
Still I'll always, always keep the memory of ...
The way you have your say 
The way we danced till three 
The way you changed my life
No, no they can't take that away from me
No, they can't take that away from me!”


FAREWELL SPEECH BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
Farewell speeches for 2019 and the 5th Term of Parliament
20 March 2019