Tiyani Lybon Mabasa

Tiyani Lybon Mabasa

The fortunes of the Black Consciousness Movement in this country were intricately linked with those of Dr Nthato Motlana. He did not see black consciousness as a transient ideology but as one that should be used to seize political power from the oppressing white minority.

He travelled the whole country with some of the leaders of the Black Consciousness Movement, the fiery Castro Mayethula, Hlaku Kenny Rachidi, Madikwe Tom Manthata, Dundubele Aubrey Mokoena and many others.

It was in the Black Consciousness Movement that Motlana found his voice and place. The many organisations he led in the 1970s through the 1980s were set up by the Black Consciousness Movement.

He was one of the few who squeezed through the political lull after the banning of the ANC and PAC. While many became fearful and careful, Motlana stood as a beacon of hope for his people.

Motlana's star shone ever so brightly in the glorious days of the Black Consciousness Movement, in the times of Steve Biko and other leaders of the movement.

He did not become a supporter or sympathiser of the BCM but a strong proponent and an active participant in its activities at various levels.

It was Motlana who saw black consciousness as an idea whose time had arrived, and as an essential and a necessary weapon in the hands of black people struggling to rid themselves of apartheid oppression.

He was an eloquent speaker at all the rallies organised by the Black Consciousness Movement. Motlana saw in the fledgling BCM the hope of the oppressed and fully identified with it and its programmes.

His involvement in defending black students did not start with the formation of the Black Parents Association after the 1976 uprising. Long before that he was already a member of community organisations that defended black university students who were often victims of the worst kind of racism.

Every time students were expelled from these institutions, Motlana, at very great personal expense, sometimes without personally knowing the students, led delegations to represent them.

His view was that every student needed to be defended. I was among those students who were represented and defended by Motlana.

He was willing to do whatever it took to advance the struggles of black people.

May his soul find peace and his kith and kin find consolation in the knowledge that he was truly loved.