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By unknown | Mar 06, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Seth Mazibuko

Seth Mazibuko

Wilson Welile "Chief" Twala, our source of inspiration in the June 16 1976 leadership because of his strong belief in God, is no more.

Chief Twala was our inspiration during our "hibernation" from the police, during detention without trial and later during the marathon Soweto 11 Trial, where he was accused No 1.

He was called "Chief" long before it became fashionable to refer to adults and seniors as well as comrades by that moniker.

Chief was brought up by his uncle Duze in Jabulani, Soweto. Duze was one of the respected Christian youth leaders in the Teen Outreach Christian Youth Club which was very active in Jabulani, Zola and Naledi.

He was part of the "Christian leadership" which consisted of, among others, Khehla Mthembu and Enos Ngutshana, who was also Chiefs's best friend.

Chief became a student leader through his election into the executive of the Soweto students representative council.

He served under three Soweto Student Representative Council presidents: the late Khotso Seatlholo, Dan Montsisi and Trofomo Sono.

Chief was a man of action who was fond of saying "let's get there and do it . instead of talking about it .".

During his participation in the struggle against apartheid, Chief saw the collapse of apartheid institutions such as the urban Bantu councils, the school boards, etc, and their replacement by democratic structures.

Chief was accused number one when he was arrested along with other student leaders of the 1976 - 1977 era.

That trial was tagged the Soweto 11 - the first trial by the apartheid government that was directly connected to June 16 1976 and its aftermath.

Chief was charged with other student leaders such as Montsisi, Seth Mazibuko, Murphy Morobe, Sibongile Mthembu-Mkhabela, Kenny Mogami, Khotsho Lengene, Jerome Mngomezulu, Thabo Ndabeni and George Twala.

Chief became a member of the ANC underground on his release from detention.

He went into exile and joined Umkhonto weSizwe, where he became a commander and commissar. Indeed "a man always destined for leadership".

He came back to the country to prepare for the Convention for a Democratic SA.

Chief has always been cared for by his wife and comrade Denise Nomalanga Twala (née Nxumalo).

Nomalanga Twala said: "Chief has left me without a friend and comrade. I feel lonely and leaderless."

After the first democratic elections of 1994, Chief was deployed to the South African Secret Service. He passed away while on assignment in Ghana last Thursday.

Chief Twala, we have had time to throw stones with you to liberate South Africa. We have had time to gather stones with you for the reconstruction and development of South Africa.

South Africa is proud of you, Chief. You have watered the tree of liberation with your blood. It is time that the children of Africa water it with their sweat.

Chief will be buried tomorrow at 2pm after a service at his home in Ridgeway, Johannesburg, which starts at 10am.


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