Masemola and PAC leaders forgotten

13 April 2010
Sam Ditshego 

        
________________________________

        

NOTORIOUS PRISON: A view of the outside of Robben Island prison 


TORTURED: Jafta Masemola 

 
 These freedom fighters also suffered 

        

ON April 17 1990 our country was robbed of an intrepid freedom fighter,
Jafta Kgalabi Masemola. 

Masemola died in a mysterious car accident on his way to hospital. He
had been released six months earlier from Robben Island after serving 26
years, nine of which were spent in solitary confinement. He was tortured
almost daily and had to go on numerous hunger strikes as a protest.

Though enduring such hardships, he didn't attract international media
attention. So far, he doesn't even attract local media attention. The
PAC, to which he gave his life, also fails to do justice to him and Zeph
Mothopeng.

Their anniversaries just come and go without incident.

Masemola was a victim of a systematic assassination campaign. Others
were journalist Sam Mabe and Azapo's Muntu Myeza

Masemola's death has not been properly explained and the PAC is doing
little or nothing to ensure that his case reaches finality. For
instance, who was the driver of the truck that collided with his car ?
Did he appear in court to answer charges ? Which court? Are there
records of the scene of the accident? Who were the police officers who
were dispatched to the scene of the accident? 

There were reports that emergency service vehicles arrived late and
Masemola died minutes after arriving at the GaRankuwa Hospital.

He had dedicated his life to others. He was very generous. He had an
undying love for his people and was determined to liberate them. 

In 1963 Masemola, Samuel Chibane, Philemon Tefu, John Nkosi, Isaac
Mthimunye and Dimake Malepe were sentenced to life for furthering the
aims of the P A C . 

In 1964 Rivonia trialists Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki,
Ahmed Kathrada, Wilton Makwayi, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi and
Andrew Malangeni joined the PAC freedom fighters, but the media hardly
reports about the PAC members .

A founder PAC member , Masemola once said: "We cannot negotiate with the
usurpers of our land." 

After his release , Masemola said the time was not ripe for genuine
negotiations. He had foresight. It is now clear that the political
settlement reached at Codesa didn't benefit the African people. 

This was confirmed by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela about six weeks ago in
an interview with the London Evening Standard, an interview she now
denies ever giving to Nadira Naipaul. 

She denies it, but who believes her? Moreover, Naipaul couldn't have
thumb-sucked the explosive information contained in that interview.

Other PAC stalwarts, such as former president Zeph Mothopeng, who had
foresight and whose analysis was insightful, said: "We must put our
heads together over this question of negotiations because it is bandied
about as the most important thing in the liberation struggle. 

"You cannot go to a negotiating table for your liberation."

The PAC's founding president Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe said: "We do not
wish to use anybody, nor do we wish to be used by anybody. We want to
make the African people conscious of the fact that they have to win
their own liberation, relying on themselves to carry on a relentless and
determined struggle instead of relying on court cases and negotiations
on their behalf by 'sympathetic whites'."

An oppressor is an oppressor. There is no benevolent oppressor. The
people will have to fight for their freedom. That is the lesson we
learned from people like Masemola. If we shirk our responsibility, these
freedom fighters will turn in their graves.

Masemola contributed enormously to our liberation struggle . The people
of this country for whom people like Masemola dedicated their lives
should keep their memory alive.

________________________________

JAFTA KGALABI MASEMOLA (1928 - 1990) 

JAFTA "Jeff" Kgalabi Masemola joined the ANCYL in 1958. In 1959 he and
was inamong the the breakawaymembers who group that founded the Pan
African Congress of Azania (PAC) in 1959. 

When the PAC was banned in 1961 Masemola and others were sent out of the
country to set up the PAC's underground guerrilla structure, Poqo, the
forerunner of the Azanian People's Liberation Army (Apla).

Masemola was abducted in Lesotho by apartheid forces and was, with most
members of his unit, later sentenced to serve life on Robben Island. 

Known as the Tiger of Azania, he was subjected to solitary confinement
for much of his time on Robben Island. 

He rejected President PW Botha's offer of release on condition that he
renounce the armed struggle. He steadfastly refused any negotiations
unless it led to the return of land to dispossessed Africans and the
establishment of a free and just society.

________________________________

*  The writer is a media commentator and an independent researcher

 

 

Mduduzi Sibeko

011 724 9298

071-101-2595

msib...@randwater.co.za

 






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