AZAPO Voice Volume 4 Issue No 18


On behalf of AZAPO, I thank both the National and Provincial Governments for honouring Cde Peter Cyril Jones with a Provincial Official Funeral. Cde PC was one of the great Children of the Soil.

We regard that gesture as the starting point. Some of the streets of the Western Cape are eagerly waiting to be named after Cde PC. The buildings of the Western Cape are jealously waiting to be the first to receive that honour. Yet the mountains, rivers and valleys of Azania are claiming priority in deserving of that honour.

As AZAPO, we recognise the presence of the community of Macassar among the mourners this morning. Macassar is where Cde PC grew up and executed his initial political operations. If Cde PC was “the Last Black Person to see Biko alive”, Macassar was the last Black Community that gave refuge, love, food and water to Biko. For that reason, the memorial footprint of Cde PC must be present in Macassar. There is no reason why his original home could not be bought by the Department of Arts and Culture or National Heritage Council to be made a national key point of remembrance.

What about his High School, or the street of his original home? Like it did with the application of the Official Funeral, AZAPO is embarking on efforts to engage the relevant authorities to ensure that Cde PC’s name and memory is not erased.

The greatness of Cde PC lies in the fact that he and his Comrades in the Black Consciousness Movement had the courage to reignite the fires of the liberation struggle after the banning of the ANC and PAC in 1960. History has it that there was a political lull in the aftermath of the banning. The county was gripped by a paralysing fear. It took the fearless and rebellious political activity of the teenagers like Biko and Jones to shake the foundations of settler-colonialism and apartheid in occupied Azania.

They were the political force that provided overall political leadership and direction behind the June 16 Uprising in 1976. In that sense, today’s democracy owes it to Cde PC’s contributions and sacrifices.

It is a deprivation of huge proportions that the people of Azania could lose Cde PC when it is increasingly clear that this country is leaderless. While the poor people are sleeping on cement floors, the leaders of this country are sleeping on mattresses stuffed with billions of dollars.

Other countries are destroyed by national disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. They are destroyed by wars. Yet South Africa is destroyed by its own leaders.

From Cde PC, I learned to be critical. That got me to go back in time and wrestled with my past. I found myself back in 1973 reciting a nursery rhyme called Twinkle Little Star. We were spending the better part of the day saying “twinkle little star like a diamond in the sky”. As we were looking for the diamond in the sky, the colonisers were digging up our diamonds in Kimberley. When we lowered our heads from looking in the sky, all was left was the Big Hole, which was a sign of the stealing of our minerals.

From Cde PC, I learned to be selfless and live for the people. To this end, Cde PC spent his time organising and training the rural people in the Eastern Cape in farming methods to ensure their food sovereignty.

As the country is nearing the 2024 Elections, it is about time that the people realised that they are armed with the vote to rebuild the country by giving their power to the political forces that truly have their interests at heart. AZAPO is one such political force that the electorate could trust with their votes.

The most appropriate gesture with which we could express our gratitude to the Azanian Martyrs like Peter Jones is to return the land to its rightful owners and restore the humanity and dignity of Black people.


The master of ceremonies Cde Simphiwe Hashe and Cde Oupa Ngwenya, the President of AZAPO Cde Nelvis Qekema, the Deputy President of AZAPO Cde Kekeletso Khena, the SC members present here, former Presidents of AZAPO Cdes Pandelani Nefolovhodwe, Saths Cooper and Strike Thokoane, former Deputy President Ntate Joe Seoka, former Secretary General of AZAPO Cde Mpotseng Kgokong, Cde Nthibedi Tloubatla, the former Deputy Chief in Command of AZANLA Cde Twiggs Xiphu, the invited guests, comrades and friends, MOLWENI.

To the family of Comrade Peter Cyril Jones especially the wife Madam Ingrid Jones, the children and relatives, our deepest condolences – akuhlanga lungehliyo.  To AZAPO, his political home and family, be consoled to the fact that your comrade Peter Jones like the biblical Paul, fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. This verse comrade President Nelvis Qekema is best explained in your home language – IsiXhosa xa ithi “Umzamo omhle ndiwuzamile, ugqatso ndilufezile, ukholo ndilugcinile.” In this instance his faith was BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS and AZAPO.

I first met Peter Jones in 1984 when he came to be the Guest Speaker at the annual general meeting (AGM) of AZAPO at Daku Hall in PE (now Gqeberha) in the Eastern Cape. But as a political activist I knew him, and though we never met I saw him in the 1970’s when I was a student at High School. I knew him through the media and political discussions of the time. I had an opportunity to meet him in 1977 when we were mobilised for a meeting with two prominent people. But the meeting never took place, and we were just informed that it had been rescheduled for another time.

Fast forward to October 1977 when we were arrested as students and kept at Algoa Police Station, and lo and behold, some students discovered that the cell next door to them was that of Peter Jones. The roar and the hullabaloo reverberated across the police station with excitement to find that Peter Jones was alive and kicking because the system and its security apparatus had kept silent of his whereabouts and the death of Biko had caused such anxiety about the circumstances of Peter Jones.

When reading two books released many years later, one book is entitled Steve Biko (A Jacana Pocket biography) by Lindy Wilson and another book entitled The Tall Assassin by Alan Elsdon you realised the anxiety about the whereabouts of Peter Jones was justifiable.  In the book by Wilson, Peter described his interrogation in gory terms. He writes that the day after they were arrested, they were viciously handcuffed and taken to the sixth floor of security police headquarters – SANLAM building.

His interrogation took more than 20hrs. He was made to sit naked on a chair with his left hand chained to the chair. In front of him sat two SATANIC white policemen, namely Snyman and Siebert. On the desk in front of them was a length of green hosepipe filled with something metallic. It is this pipe among other things that was used with impunity to cause injury and humiliation to our comrade. He writes this part of his beating in a dramatic way, and I quote him:

“Every time I tried to defend my head with my hands, the pipes would move to the back, the kidney area, or attack the hands. I found it impossible to cope with all the immense pain and I turned and faced the wall and, closing my eyes, began hoping for oblivion, which never came, as blows rained down on my head and back.”

 After reading this chapter about PC Jones’ experience you then understand him when in the film THE SPIRIT LIVES when he said, “there was not a part in my body that was not in pain.”

But for Steve Biko, he did not leave to tell us his story. We got it from the documents and questioning during the inquest at the Pretoria synagogue. In the book The Tall Assassin, his interrogation is further explained in a manner that breaks the heart. It is in this book that it is confirmed that they “they tested his head against the wall”.

Back to the hall in Daku Hall at the AZAPO AGM where Peter was the Guest Speaker, his presence gave our AGM a dignity beyond our imagination. The hall was packed to the brim with people who were not members of AZAPO. We were over the moon with the success of our AGM even before it ended just by the mere presence of ordinary people. We were very clear in our minds; it is Peter Jones who brought them. Just after lunch that day, two prominent UDF youth activists came into the hall leading a group of between 15 to 20 children of 14 to 15 years of age with intentions to disrupt our meeting. Unfortunately for them they failed and were forced to stand along the wall and be part of the meeting.

Then time came for comrade Peter Jones to deliver his address. He stood up and did his salutations with his clenched fist high in the sky. Then he dropped a bombshell and said “UDF IS A BUBBLE THAT WILL BURST ON ITS OWN”. The audience in the hall stood and gave him a standing ovation. The two young activists of the UDF stood there along the wall with their faces cold.

Comrade Peter Jones was a friendly humble person. He once travelled from Cape Town with a brand-new Opel Monza when it was just released into the market to Port Elizabeth just to show his car to the late comrade Ngcobo Nguna who was the Chairperson of the Branch. Comrade Peter had developed a good rapport with two comrades in the Branch namely Ngcobo Nguna and Fezile Tshume, the Secretary. When asked by Ngcobo why he was in PE, he replied, “I came to show the car to my comrade”. He then invited Ngcobo and his wife to Cape Town and hosted them. For Ngcobo who was a newlywed, the visit was a special honeymoon paid for by comrade Peter Jones.

Months later, we attended one of the National Councils of AZAPO and when we met Peter, Ngcobo asked him about his Opel Monza. The answer was shocking. Comrade Peter said “Argh no comrade, the car was just too fast, I accidentally drove it straight to the wall and it was damaged beyond repair”. Just like that and we laughed about it. In Gugulethu in Cape Town one of our comrades tells a story of how he and his sibling had their school fees paid for by comrade Peter until matric because their parents were both unemployed. To this day the comrade is grateful to comrade Jones about the opportunity he gave him to further his studies.

I am asked to pay this tribute by AZANLAMVA on their behalf. It would be amiss if I don’t highlight the stories of two AZANLA members who were deployed in the Western Cape from Harare, Zimbabwe. One of the comrades popularly known as “Mshini Wam” tells of the support and comfort he got from comrade Peter. He had no relatives or home in the Western Cape except comrades and Peter Jones excelled in keeping him comfortable. Today he is married with children and a house in the Western Cape. He says the fact that he is alive even today is because of the comfort and love he got from comrade Peter. The other comrade also known as Jabulani tells similar stories of assistance by Peter Jones. Sadly, Jabulani passed on a few years ago.

Peter Jones had a passion for community development. He followed what he believed to community development organisations with a glee. This he demonstrates in his paper when paying tribute to Steve Biko at the Nelson Mandela University on 11 September 2013. In his paper he gives what he called three case studies. The first one is The Shack Dwellers Movement – (Abahlali baseMjondolo), the second one is Subsistence Fisher Communities (Masifundise Development Organisation) founded after the banning of 19 BC organisations in 1977 and led by Nontobeko Moletsane, the third one is, An Integrated Village Renewal Programme (Is’Baya Development Trust). In these case studies he argues that the development of these community based organisations expresses the frustration of millions of ordinary people who are now questioning the “incomplete” liberation in post-apartheid South Africa. He looks at these three case studies to illustrate the relevance of committed intellectuals to interactively work with these communities.

Well comrade President and the leadership, comrade Peter Jones is now gone physically from us but will definitely remain in our hearts and spirit for as long as we live. The question is “What then after his death?”. From AZANLAMVA perspective we will give the best advice we know for sure, that when a soldier falls, you do not cry, but you pick up the cudgels. For us as AZAPO, the best legacy we can give to Peter Jones is to  pull up our socks to begin to realise that we are in this game for the seizure of power in our country. We have to seize power to continue the legacy of Black Empowerment that Peter Jones literally spent his entire life for. It cannot be business as usual, of laissez-faire attitude in executing the task of seizure of political power in honour of PC Jones and I dare say also in honour of Onkgopotse Tiro in this important month of February when we remember him.

We cannot be fighting a struggle for land repossession since 1652 which is 370 years to date and only keep on coming to occasions like this to shout ” the struggle continues.” Yes, it must continue but it must reach its logical conclusion. We owe that to Peter Jones and all Black people who suffered and died under colonial oppression and now neo-colonial oppression. We must remember that Liberation is of paramount importance in the concept of Black Consciousness and we cannot be conscious of ourselves and yet remain in bondage.  It is now 54 for years since our formation through SASO in 1968 and we are still talking the struggle continues. In Zimbabwe it took almost 8 years after the formation of ZANU and ZANLA and by 1980 the country was fairly independent albeit through the Lancaster house agreement which they abandoned ten years later. We must examine thoroughly the reasons why ours takes this long as a matter of urgency. From the years of resistance in the Cape that took 100 years, then Sekhukhune, then Moshoeshoe, then Hintsa and the list goes on. Hayi khona. Freedom Now!

As I sit down comrade Hashe and Ngwenya allow me to tell this gathering how Peter Jones became to be known as, “the last Black Man to see Steve Biko Alive.” It was the press statement released by the then Secretary of the PE branch of AZAPO the late comrade Fezile Tshume when inviting him to our AGM in 1984. The statement was carried by the morning newspaper in PE, THE HERALD and the EVENING POST. The gesture stuck with PC to the last and possibly for ever. The statement was a form of an appraisal, an appreciation of this Black Man who in the face of brutality that they were practically facing in the hands of the evil SA security white police. This gesture is so fitting for PC because in telling his story in the book I quoted above he has a sentence about his friend and comrade that he writes as follows “That was the last time I was to see my close comrade ever – Alive or Dead.”

With those few words I end with a quote by the late Hlaku Rachidi when closing his tribute to Steve Biko at the funeral in Ginsberg when he said, “We vow to carry the yoke you helped us shoulder.” The words are indeed also relevant to comrade Peter Jones as we close this chapter of his life.