FAO : News Editors and News Wires
For Immediate Release
04 September 2016
NKOSI MOLALA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF AZAPO, DIES AT THE AGE OF 65
Tshwane – Today( 04 Sept 2016), the former President of the Azanian People’s Organisation(AZAPO) and a stalwart of the Black Consciousness Movement, Nkosi Potjo Molala (65), died in hospital after a long illness.
Born on the 5th of September 1951, Molala was one of 8 children of Emilie and Malisela Molala. He attended St. Annes’s Roman Catholic School in Pretoria until Standard 5 and from 1966-69, went to St. Paul’s minor seminary at Hammanskraal. He subsequently matriculated in 1971 at Pax College, Pietersburg.
Molala entrenched his name in the South African football in the 70s while he played for Pax College team in Polokwane where they would sometimes play against Turfloop University. He was soon spotted by Bantu Callies, which later changed its name to Pretoria Callies. Alongside great soccer stars like Lucas Masterpiece Moripe, Molala played for the professional side from 1972 to 1976 when he was arrested for his political activism in the liberation struggle during the heydays of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM).
His dribbling wizardry earned him the nickname “Let Them Dance”, or simply “LTD”. It came as no surprise that in 1974 he was picked to represent the country in the SA Black X1, which played against, among others, the Brazilian Club Fluminense in Botswana.
From 1974-76, the trial of the 9 members of the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) and the Black People’s Convention (BPC) was in progress and Molala became interested in the proceedings as he had come to know some of the accused previously. Whilst at Pax College he had met Terror Lekota whose soccer team from the University of the North had come to play in Pietersburg. Molala kept attending the trial and for the first time was effectively exposed to the Black Consciousness philosophy, especially as it was explained by Steve Biko, then a defence witness. Molala began to feel he should become involved in the activities of the Black People’s Convention, a community organisation with a Black Consciousness philosophy.
His blossoming football career was cut short by his conviction on sabotage charges and spending 6 years on Robben Island. On the Island he carried on with both his politics and football. He joined other players like Kgalema Motlanthe and Mosioua Lekota, who both later served as the countries President and Defence Minister, respectively.
On his release from prison in 1983 he became active in AZAPO. In 1985 he was elected Deputy President. In 1986-1990 he became AZAPO of President and later served as the National Chairperson of AZAPO
His involvement in politics did not diminish his commitment to football. He was instrumental in the formation of the Soccer Players Union of South Africa (SOPUSA).
The funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.
END OF STATEMENT
Azapo’s Secretary General