Obituary: Gaetan Kayitare

Class fighter, internationalist, revolutionary

Sozialistische Alternative (SAV), the German section of the CWI, suffered a great loss with the untimely death of long-standing and leading SAV member, Gaetan Kayitare.

Gaetan played a pivotal role in building the CWI in Germany since 1982 and always made a big contribution to the political analysis and perspectives of the organization.

Gaetan, who died on 27 February, was in his mid 60’s. Born in Rwanda, he did not know the exact date of his birth. He was a member of the national committee of SAV, worked full time for the organization for many years and was a delegate to several world congresses of the CWI. He was an outstanding personality and fighter, who made a big and lasting impact on anyone he met.

For many young comrades, he was a Marxist teacher in the true sense of the word. In remembering Gaetan, many comrades described how they regularly met with him for discussions about Marxist theory and on the history of the workers’ movement. They were developed as Marxists by this man, who had a special sense of humour and a big heart. Gaetan hated class society and even more all tendencies in the workers’ movement that adapt to capitalism and want to reach rotten compromises. He was a principled revolutionary and sometimes this came across as stubbornness but, in reality, in most situations it was political clarity.

Gaetan was also a true internationalist, who regularly participated in international CWI meetings and visited several sections over the last three decades. Not surprisingly, the news about his passing away quickly spread throughout the whole of the CWI and condolences soon came from French comrades and other CWI sections. In 1998, Gaetan was part of an international CWI delegation to Scotland, at the time when a faction struggle had developed in the ranks of the Scottish CWI section.

Gaetan was not well known for being very diplomatic! He always openly said what he thought. To the then members of the CWI in Scotland who later left our ranks, he openly warned them that they would end up in the camp of reformism. Unfortunately, he was proven right. But despite Gaetan’s sharp and frank words, many of those he debate with expressed their respect for Gaetan.

He suffered from several illnesses and his health constantly deteriorated over the last years.

Unfortunately he did not look after himself as he should have done and as comrades for many years urged him to do.

Gaetan was an activist in every movement and struggle in Aachen, the city he lived in since the 1970’s. Not surprisingly, condolences have come in within a day of his passing from trade unionists, members of the Left Party and even social democrats.

Gaetan will be remembered as a unique person, a principled class fighter, a revolutionary in the best sense of the word and a true friend.

Aachen SAV will hold a big commemoration meeting on 13 March. Comrades who want to attend or send messages should contact

Also a special financial appeal has been launched to finance the costs of the commemoration and to help the Aachen comrades to continue the political activities after this big loss.

Special financial appeal to all readers of

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March 2011