A revolutionary in thinking and practice

Frank Maponya

The people of Limpopo will remember Ramagakishe Moses Mabotha for his revolutionary thinking and practice.

Mabotha, 43, the fourth son of the late Kgaole Ben and Tshitjadi Rosa Mabotha, died in a car accident last Saturday in Lebowakgomo.

At the time of his death he worked as manager for disability at the South African Social Security Agency in Limpopo.

Born on September 16 1964, Mabotha was shaped largely by the late Peter Nchabeleng, the then president of the United Democratic Front in the then Northern Transvaal, with whom he worked very closely.

In 1986 he was part of the leadership that heroically mobilised the youth of Sekhukhune for mass demonstrations under the banner of the UDF. He was elected secretary of the Sekhukhune Youth Organisation in the same year.

Mabotha was an ardent Marxist Leninist scholar who worked closely with the likes of Elleck Nchabeleng, Sporo Masemola, Yster Lepulana, Norman Mashabane, the late Jabu Mahlangu, Peter Mokaba and Ephraim Mogale to build and consolidate youth formations in the then Northern Transvaal.

He later met another working- class intellectual, Rob Rees, in Johannesburg, with whom he traversed the breadth and length of Sekhukhuneland on Rob's motorbike to organise unemployed workers.

At the height of repression, state-sponsored killings and abductions, Mabotha was displaced to Johannesburg in 1989, where he lived in Winnie Mandela's house with youth from other parts of the country.

At this time he worked with Bishop Peter Storey and the Reverend Paul Verryn for Nkululeko, which ran the anti-conscription campaign. In 1990 Mabotha enrolled at Khanya College, where he was a member of the SRC.

He then studied law at Wits University, where he earned the respect of his peers and lecturers for his clarity in English and philosophy. At the time of his death Mabotha was about to complete his MBA studies.

He is survived by his two wives, Daisy and Mapule, 10 children, one grandchild, four brothers and a sister. Mabotha will be buried tomorrow at GaNkwana Cemetery in Sekhukhune.

The service starts at 7am.