Gen Xolile Ngxabane, affectionately captured as JJ was born on the 08th-August -1949 in East London. He is the son of the late Marhafu and Bhina Ngxabane. He assumed his primary education at Davies Primary School and proceeded to Mdantsane.
He was subsequently prevented from furthering his high school studies because of his political activism. A soldier, freedom fighter, unionist, teacher, stalwart, sportsperson an accomplished boxing mentor, a revolutionary, father and community leader.
Gen Xolile Ngxabane was recruited into the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) by the veteran, Monde Ngcukana and became directly involved as an underground operative in the East London in 1964.
Cde JJ the Worker and a Unionist and Underground Activist.
Described by Cde Mlambo former PAC Central Committee Chairperson as “an underground activist who was later deployed inside the country for his extensive knowledge and vast contacts inside the country” .
Cde JJ started working at Da Gama Textile Factory in 1966 after he was banned from furthering his studies. He could not cease spreading his influence even in the workplace, he began a recruitment campaign in which he was recruiting and mobilising his co-workers and he succeeded in increasing the membership of the PAC/APLA After six months of work, he was then fired after it was discovered that he was embarking in political activities. He spent 6 years without job but eventually got hired by Dunlop South Africa in 1973, this is where he met his political friends like Dan Thomas, Archie Mathungwa, Bulwana Mbali, Sam Mngaza and Malusi Koli until his arrest in 1979.
Gen Xolile was detained and tortured for refusing to cooperate with the security forces under the leadership of Captain Naude but was fired by his employer Dunlop SA immediately after his release. He worked for Johnson & Johnson for a short period. It is during this time that he also helped to establish an Africanist aligned union Bawu later known as AWU (African Workers Union) working with Cde Cunningam Ngcukana and others.
A strong believer in the development of young people
In the early 1980s, he started to work closely with young people while recruiting them for the PAC amongst them are Malusi Godi, Samkelo and many others whom he helped to escape the country and train outside. It is in the same period that he was also conducting political classes amongst the youth. He was part of the people who spearheaded the formation of AZANYU in 1980s.
A specialist underground activist and community builder
Cde JJ loved by the community of Mdantsane fondly called Ngxayi, founded Thembelethu Boxing Club (TBC) in which boxing giants were produced, but this boxing centre was also utilised as a political base as political movements were banned during those years and no person was allowed to participate in politics.
A master in the art of disguise, the boxing club also served as a PAC political school. While teaching youth about PAC politics, at the table there will be boxing magazines and a punch bag hanging. This was done to confuse the apartheid security forces. For a while he escaped the attention of Security forces with this technique
An accomplished Boxing mentor for many young people in Eastern Cape, one of them is Victor Sonwabo who is a former Cape Flyweight Champion.
Eventually this base was discovered by the Ciskei Intelligence and it became very dangerous for him to continue with his tasks.
Cde JJ left the country in 1983 with 11 youths, the youngest 17 year old Cliff on PAC instructions. He left the country via Lesotho and stayed in Daar Salam for a while.
Comrade Ngxabani was then sent to Rugby Labia in Yugoslavia for military training and on his return he served in the APLA logistic department under comrade Sxham xham Gxekwa who was the Chief of Logistics. In 1988 he was promoted into the APLA High-Command and joined the Operations Department. In the same year he was sent back to the country to start operations and he was based in the Eastern Cape. He operated with amongst others, Comrade Vuma, Polite, Zaha and Malan.
He trained plethora of APLA cadres inside the country who successfully also conducted military operations. He commanded various APLA operations inside the country. He opened the Msikaba camp in the former homeland of Transkei which at that stage was under the rule of General Bantu Holomisa. This is where he trained a lot of APLA cadres inside the country.
In 1989 he was arrested together with comrade Ma Language and two other members, Mvimbi and McGregor.
He was then released in 1989 and continued with APLA operations, receiving and deploying more cadres from outside whilst training scores of internal members. He remained a member of the High-Command and a Field Commander until 1994 when APLA integrated into SANDF.
A real cadre of the movement.
He did not integrate into the SANDF and opted to remain within the structures of the party. In 2014 following the Botshabelo Conference Cde Ngxabane was appointed National Head of Security of the PAC, a pragmatist he immediately embarked on establishing Security structures nationally. This is the position he occupied until his untimely death.
The entire PAC has lost a great cadre of the movement, the country has lost one of her finest sons of the soil. He lives a void that will be difficult to fill, a cadre who believed that the best theory emanates from practise. Hamba kakuhle nyana wase Afrika usikhonzele ko Sobukwe nakuwo onke amqhawe ase Afrika.
His health deteriorated when he lost his eldest son, Ferguson, on the 23rd September 2012. In August, he was admitted at St Dominic Hospital but later discharged, he was unfortunately readmitted in September and discharged on the 24th September 2015 (Heritage day) He passed on the evening of the 26th September 2015 at his home. He is survived by his dearest wife Nobotwe, 5 lovely sons Thoza, Samora, Lumumba, Mighty and Steve, his sisters Nondumiso and Pamella, grandchildren, nephews and nieces.
Note that the memorial services of Cde Xolile Ngxabane will be at Mdantsane Indoor Sport Centre in East London. Date: 04/10/2015.
Western Cape-07/10/2015. Venue: Site C, Time: 17h00
Mpumalanga details will be announced in due course.
Cde Xolile Ngxabane laid to rest 10/10/2015
Procession will start at 7am Bralin East London, at 9am, it will proceed to Baptist Church hall Quigney at 1pm he will be laid to rest at his final place in Cambridge Cemetery, East London.