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Student leader dies heartbroken

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

Tebello Motapanyane, one of the student leaders of the 1976 Soweto uprising, has died.

Motapanyane died an angry and heartbroken man with his role in the liberation of the country unrecognised by the government, according to fellow student leader Majakathata Mokoena.

"If people like Motapanyane are not recognised our history will be distorted," Mokoena said.

He said that the lack of recognition for Motapanyane's role smacked of double standards.

"When people like Walter Sisulu died they were given a dignified burial but this person is not. Why are there double standards?"

He said that Motapanyane, as chairman of the Action Committee, played a significant role in organising the June 16 march.

After the uprising Motapanyane went into exile and returned home in 1991.

Gloria Motapanyane, his wife, said that he returned sick because of his experiences in exile.

Though Motapanyane received a government grant his wife said this was not enough because of what he had endured in his life - and, because she had to nurse her husband, she is unemployed.

"We survived only on the R3000 a month he received. I do not know what we are going to do," she said.

Motapanyane will be buried today at Lenasia Cemetery. The service will be at the AME church, Orlando West, at 8am.

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