Victor "Scrape" Ntshona was a man of the people. Loved and respected, Ntshona's death on Sunday brought an end to an illustrious life.
Born on August 25 1923 in Lesotho, he started school at Healdtown Missionary School, where he matriculated. In 1941 he enrolled at the University of Fort Hare where he majored in mathematics, chemistry and zoology.
He also completed a diploma in education. Following his graduation in 1946, his first job was at Langa High School in Cape Town as a mathematics teacher.
It was during this period that he met many enduring friends and his political views were shaped. Cape Town was at the centre of progressive politics. He joined the Marxist Unity Movement of South Africa, the first political party to openly espouse non-racialism.
In 1948 Ntshona joined the great trek to Johannesburg. He taught briefly in Krugersdorp and among his students were Percy Qoboza, David Sibeko and Abigail Kubheka. He later became chairman of the Transvaal United African Teachers Association (Tuata). He immersed himself in political activism.
On November 17 1963, in the face of the general crackdown by apartheid forces, Ntshona went into exile in Nigeria. He lived in West Africa for seven years.
A well-travelled academic, he returned home in 1993 full of hope.
He is survived by his wife Liziwe and three children. He will be cremated on February 9 after a service at St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in La Rochelle, Johannesburg.