On the 1st of April we received the sad news of the passing of former PAC president and struggle icon Mlamli Makwetu. Mlamli Clarence Makwetu “Ufafa olude” (the tallest), as he was popularly known by the” angry boys” of the PAC, was born on December 6, 1928. “Mlamli”, means to intercede in order to resolve problems between warring parties or persons. He emerged from the primitive village of Hoyita in Thembuland from Cofimvaba district. He is a second born of Minah and Gqongo Makwetu’s six children, two brothers and four sisters.
After passing Standard Four at the local school, Makwetu moved to Keilands Mission in the Stutterheim district where he completed Standards 5 and 6. From 1943 -1945 he attended a local school in Queenstown, studying for his junior certificate. He matriculated at Lovedale, and went to work in Cape Town in 1948. He joined the ANC Youth League in 1954 after going through different educational institutions. He later became very influential and instrumental in the formation of PAC in 1959 and became the first branch Secretary of PAC at Langa Flats in Cape Town.
He later became Regional PAC Chairperson of the Western Cape. Under his leadership the Western Cape became a PAC strong hold. According to the PAC constitution then, all Regional Chairpersons were automatically Deputy Presidents. On the 29th March 1960, Makwetu was arrested and detained for his involvement in the anti-Pass Campaign, in terms of the first State of Emergency to be declared in the country. When the State of Emergency was lifted, he was released from detention at the beginning of September 1960. Immediately after his release, duty called, and he started from where he left and the struggle intensified in the Western Cape until 1961 when he was endorsed out of Cape Town and banished to his home at Cofimvaba in Transkei. In September 1961, he was detained again and was released in February 1962 without being charged.
Mlamli Makwetu was a very brave man and stubborn too. If he says he is not going to abide, he will not abide whatever the pressure. After his release from detention by the Transkei Bantustan government in February 1962 without being charged, he went back to Cape Town illegally and was arrested and sent back to Transkei on a caution. In August 1962, he was arrested in Transkei and sent to Cape Town to stand trial for conducting illegal PAC meetings in that area of Azania. He was found guilty and was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and was also sent to Robben Island in 1963. On his release from Robben Island, he was escorted to the Bantustan of Transkei.
In June 1976, he was detained again and was released from detention in May 1977. In July 1977, while shopping in Queenstown, he was arrested and taken to Pietermaritzburg, where he was held for interrogation until November the same year. During his arrest, his car was just left in the street unattended to. He was released from that detention in 1979 without being charged.
In December 1979, he was banished by his cousin brother, the Transkei Bantustan ruler, Chief K. D. Matanzima, to the Libode district. In October 1984 he was allowed to return to his original home in Qamata, Cofimvaba, only to be re-detained for four months in August 1986, without being charged.
In 1989, the banned PAC decided to launch a front Organisation called Pan Africanist Movement (PAM) inside occupied Azania. The late Mlamli Makwetu became its First President in December 1989. When PAC was unbanned in February 2, 1990, he became PAC Deputy President to Uncle Zeph Mothopeng. On the death of Zephania Mothopeng, the late Mlamli Makwetu became PAC President in December 1990.
The late leader leaves behind his wife Mandisa, four children, three boys and one girl. Comrade Makwetu served the struggle with resilience, humility and authority under very trying times perpetuated by the Apartheid regime against the oppressed African people of Azania.
Funeral service will be in his home Cofimvaba Hoyita on 16 April 2016
Hamba kakuhle mqocwa omde, Zikhali Mazembe, Jojo, Tiyeka, Butsolo Beentonga, Mbizana, Mabombo.