Thato gave his life to Apla

Jaki Seroke

Jaki Seroke

George Thabo Thato, also known as Ntsie in Azanian People's Liberation Army (Apla) and PAC circles, is no more.

Thato died last Thursday after falling ill with a ruptured ulcer and massive internal bleeding. He was admitted to Lenmed Clinic in Lenasia where he died of cardiac arrest.

Born in Sharpeville in the Vaal in May 1975, Thato was heavily involved in student protests in his matric year at Lekoa-Shandu High School in Sharpeville.

When the security police started taking a keen interest in him, Thato decided to skip the country to swell the ranks of the exiled Apla.

His quick grasp of revolutionary theory and military tactics led to his assignment into the Apla commissariat.

He knew the dictum that politics commands the gun. He was trained under the watchful eyes of Siyaya Nkonyeni, Romero Mofokeng and Sabelo Phama in the Apla camps in Tanzania.

He went for specialist courses at the Uganda Military Academy. He was then infiltrated into South Africa in an intensive home-going programme, to work on political education for the young recruits of the Pan Africanist Students Organisation and the Azanian National Youth Unity.

Both were internal front organisations of the PAC.

In preparation for the new regular army, the Apla high command sent him for a non-commissioned officer's course in 1993 run by the Zimbabwe National Army. He was in the Apla 1 Battalion that integrated into the SANDF in May 1994.

Thato expressed his misgivings about the integration process and its ranking methods. He could not find it in himself to serve the nation in that capacity. Instead he chose to work unobtrusively among the masses to, as he put it, "prepare for the second phase of the Azanian revolution".

He fell in love with Francis Kennedy of Eldorado Park.

They married and were blessed with two sons. The last born is only three months old.

Thato will be buried at Sharpeville Cemetery tomorrow. The service will start at 9am at his home at No 213 Phelindaba Street, Sharpeville.