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Makgatho's grave neglected

By Zukile Majova | Oct 28, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

FORMER president Nelson Mandela admired the leadership style of the ANC's second president Sefako Mapogo Makgatho so much that he named his son after him.

That was the last time an ANC figure recognised the impression Makgatho left on the organisation.

Today, his remains are buried in an unmarked grave without a tombstone in Mamelodi West Cemetery in Tshwane.

Makgatho's family is dismayed at the ruling party for not constructing a monument or a befitting gravesite for one of its founders.

His grandson Thebe and great-grandson Tommy Makgatho, a businessman in Qwaqwa, have started a project to erect a tombstone for Makgatho, who succeeded the ANC's first president John Langalibalele Dube and led the party from 1917 to 1924.

Our investigation of the Makgatho matter found that some senior leaders in the ANC were concerned that there was a general lack of respect for party leaders who were not of Eastern Cape or KwaZulu-Natal origin.

In the run-up to the Polokwane conference, part of President Jacob Zuma's groundswell of support was motivated by a desire to end the dominance of Eastern Cape-born leaders in the ANC and its alliance partners.

Before December 2007, the party had been led by Xhosas for four decades since Nobel Prize Laureate Inkosi Albert Luthuli handed power over to the late ANC stalwart Oliver Tambo in the '50s.

Tommy Makgatho said the state of his great-grandfather's grave had troubled the family for the past 15 years.

"For more than 15 years now the family has discussed this issue but we could not move forward because of resources to fund such a project.

"Recently, the family took it upon itself to give our great-grandfather the proper recognition befitting the role he played in the liberation struggle," he said.

He said the family had no plans to have "bad relations" with the leadership of the ANC.

"The recognition for us as a family is not a political matter.

"We want the role that he played in liberating the country to be documented."


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