AZAPO ANNOUNCES THE PASSING OF COMRADE MAKHWENKWE JONATHAN MATHE – FORMER ROBBEN ISLANDER, AZANLA SOLDIER AND BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS CADRE.

AZAPO ANNOUNCES THE PASSING OF COMRADE MAKHWENKWE JONATHAN MATHE – FORMER ROBBEN ISLANDER, AZANLA SOLDIER AND BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS CADRE

Makhwenkwe Jonathan Mathe, a former Robben Islander and AZANLA soldier, who was popularly known around Pretoria as Fastback, passed away on Wednesday, the 17th February 2016 in Atteridgeville after a long illness. His death has robbed AZAPO of a veteran and a community leader of the people.

A cadre of both AZAPO and AZANLA, he dedicated his entire life to the liberation of the people of AZANIA – the land of his forefathers. As early as 1974, he was already active in the struggle under the banner of the Black People’s Convention (BPC), fighting to eradicate the twin evils of racism and capitalism, and usher in an “egalitarian, just, democratic society…”.

In 1976 when the uprising broke out, Cde.Makhwenkwe was confronted by the brutality and the effects of centuries of oppression. Although he was subjected to harassment and political arrests by the racist regime, this did not bow him. He was arrested, detained and charged for sabotage. After a lengthy trial, he was sentenced to eight years on the 7th December 1976. He served his sentence in Robben Island.

On his release on the 6th December 1984, he did not stop his political activism. Despite the personal toll that prison took on him, his conviction was even stronger. After my release, he did not stop, but went on with underground political activities. He was central in harbouring AZANLA recruits who were in the process of skipping the country for military training. Being intimately involved in AZANLA activities, he was responsible military logistics, safe houses and the distribution of war material in and around Pretoria.

Commenting on his untimely passing, Cde Mosala, the President of AZAPO, said: “We have lost a true cadre, one of the first to be incarcerated in Robben Island. AZAPO will forever treasure his memory, and his role in the struggle”.

Comrade Makhwenkwe Jonathan Mathe will be laid to rest on Saturday 27 February 2016.