Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended.
the National Congress of Women, formerly the Women’s Revolutionary
Socialist Movement, that organization which the late Cde. Vi, as she
was fondly called, led for 14 years is the poorer at her passing.
But even as we mourn her passing we of the National Congress
of Women are pleased to celebrate her life, for hers was an
as I speak on behalf of our organisation, my tribute will have a
personal touch, for I had the fortune of being associated with her
as a member of staff, as a colleague on the Executive of the WRSM
and later as a friend.
Victorine Harper Burnham, O.R. was first and foremost a loyal
Guyanese, one who walked with Queens and Princesses but never lost
the common touch.
Her contribution to the development of Women, whether in the
Party on in Guyana as a whole, is unparalleled and will forever be
Vi was a Women’s Rights advocate, who championed
Equal opportunity for women,
With regard to Legal issues, the laws of Guyana corrected to
WRSM had Units in all 10 Regions of Guyana and Cde Vi travelled the
length and breadth of Guyana meeting with women.
Vi encouraged the Use of local
Projects of the Vanguard Women’s Organisation:
women of the world have lost a stalwart in Women’s Rights
Vi practiced what she preached.
Excellence was her watchword.
widely read – I recall Robert Mugabe’s visit for African
Liberation, and Cde. Vi had to give the opening address – some men
sitting behind me declared – they were convinced that she wrotes
Forbes Burnham’s speeches.
Simple, Stately, dignified, poised, loving, always well
are but some of the words used to describe her. To many she
was Guyana’s only First Lady.
greatest tribute that the NCW could pay to this outstanding daughter
of Guyana is to emulate her values.
Only last Sunday, October 5th we celebrated our 46th
Last year at 45, she said to me Cheryl start preparing for
Get up the pictures and begin to write.
Tell Urmia to write.
Last Thursday evening Urmia and I had a long discussion and
we both resolved to have her wishes carried out.
Cde. Vi, where ever you are “Thy request will be honoured.”
Yvonne, Ovril, Blacket-Hall and all of the WRSM / NCW send their
love to the children.
For our departed sister I must read one stanza of that familiar poem by Martin Carter
DEATH OF A COMRADE
my daughter, Benita, and I will miss Mum Vi. Since
my daughter’s birth Cde became Mum Vi to me.
She was my mother, sister, friend.
On many occasions Mum Vi was my baby sitter.
Uncle Herbie spoke of the four girls she helped prepare for
their Common Entrance Examinations, my daughter was one of them.
We will always have fond memories of you.
Ulele, Kamana, Asantie and all other close relatives,
I say Be comforted in the fact the Viola Victorine Harper
Burnham, has completed her work here on earth and she will receive
her rewards in Heaven.
May her soul find eternal peace.