PASTOR Gezani Thompson Mabasa was born in 1922 to Tsatsawani Gumbeza N'waJuta and Xitlhangoma "Xigovo xa Ndzilo" Mabasa at Xigamani village in what is now Limpopo.

Pastor Mabasa, pictured, was the father of Tiyani Lybon Mabasa, president of the Socialist Party of Azania.

The pastor received a basic education at mission schools and embraced Christianity as the foundation of his belief system. His desire for knowledge saw him start school though already a teenager. He excelled in athletics and also participated in choral music and these helped to broaden his perspective about the world and himself.

Mabasa was a devout Christian willing to share what he had to help others. He lived an exemplary life that impacted on those he nurtured and gave refuge to.

His marriage to Tholaphi Leah Mamaila Mabasa in 1947 was blessed with eight children - four girls and four boys. Mabasa was the retired pastor of the Ebenezer Full Gospel Church of God in Tshiawelo, Soweto, where they settled many years ago to raise their family and to minister to the community, a task they tirelessly performed for many years.

As a guardian to young adults - whose involvement in the Black Consciousness Movement placed them in confrontation with the apartheid regime - he stood firm in asserting their rights were defended.

He well understood the horrors of the apartheid system and not once did he discourage his children from political involvement. The commitment that you see in his children today reflect this viewpoint.

His home was a haven for political activists, who were assured of safety and love during the hard days of the liberation struggle. He fed and sheltered scores of activists, and maintained a firm guardianship over all who found refuge in his home.

Mabasa is in so many ways an unsung hero of the liberation struggle, who not only made sacrifices but also gave his children to fight for collective liberation.

The Socialist Party of Azania and the Black Consciousness Movement have lost one of their beloved fathers, a dignified figure of this nation.

He is survived by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Socialist Party of Azania and the Black Consciousness Movement have lost one of their beloved fathers - a dignified figure of the nation.

Mabasa will be buried at Lenz cemetery tomorrow.

His funeral service will be held at the Full Gospel Church of God in Tshiawelo from 8.30am.