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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

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Mathale - bred by struggle politics

By unknown | Jul 23, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Cassel Charlie Mathale is relatively unknown in the public domain but his political star seems to be rising fast.

In an exclusive interview with Sowetan at Frans Mohlala House in Polo- kwane, the newly elected Limpopo ANC provincial chairman spoke about his rural upbringing and involvement in resistance politics.

The immense role he played as a young and restless activist in the unforgiving 1980s is what the country remembers him for.

Born on January 23 1961 in the dusty Dan Village near Tzaneen, he married Mokgadi Dolly Kgohloane in 1998. They have three children - Mokgadi, Lesedi and Katlego.

Like most rural kids his parents wanted him to become a doctor or lawyer.

But buoyed by the 1980s youth slogan of "liberation first, education later", Mathale defied their wish and opted for politics.

He belonged to the disciplined crop of youths that formed the militant Muhlaba Youth Organisation (Muyo), which was affiliated to the United Democratic Front in 1984.

He became a protagonist in local and provincial politics in Limpopo, which at the time had three homelands

The authorities of these homelands harassed anyone they saw as an "enemy" of the apartheid system.

Mathale was in the thick of things and the authorities of the then Gazankulu homeland watched him like hawks, sparing no moment to "deal" with the young leader.

He became the first president and later chairman of the Azanian Students Organisation while studying teaching at Tivumbeni College of Education in Nkowankowa.

He was later arrested for being instrumental in organising the student body at the college, from which he was later expelled.

He was released the following year and he re-joined the struggle alongside comrades such as Jabu Mahlangu,Peter Mokaba and NgwakoRamalepe.

In 1986 he was part of the group that initiated the National Youth Organisation, a forerunner of the South African Youth Congress in Limpopo.

Mathale was arrested again in 1989 under the state of emergency and served nearly a yearin jail.

In 1990 he was behind bars again, this time under the notorious section 29 of the Internal Security Act .


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