PAC stalwart Edward Bhengu honoured

PAN Africanist Congress of Azania founder member and my brother, Edward Sonnyboy Bhengu, was born in Sophiatown in the Italian household of the Mattera family on November 8 1934.

Bhengu was the first-born son of Pasquale "Grovaa" Mattera of Sophiatown. He moved to George Goch, then known as the Eastern Native Township, to live with his maternal grandfather Sergeant Bhengu. He did his secondary schooling at Madibane High School.

A jazz giant, lover and socialite, he was admired for his excellent taste in books, music, expensive clothes and his love of the African continent.

The struggle veteran joined the late founder-president of the PAC Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe in founding the organisation in 1959 at Orlando East, Soweto. The Africanists had broken ranks with the ANC.

A staunch Africanist, "Bra Sanza" was detained and charged for contravening the Suppression of Communism Act during the 1960s anti-pass campaign that led to the Sharpeville Massacre of March 21 1960.

He was brutally beaten with pick handles by the apartheid police, which badly affected his ability to walk properly. He was held at No 4, officially known then as The Old Fort Prison. The former prison now houses the Constitutional Court.

An uncompromising political activist, Bhengu was respected and admired by veterans of the liberation movement both at home and abroad. His story appears in a compilation book by the Constitutional Court titled Mapping Memory - Former prisoners tell their stories.

The PAC stalwart was also a frontline community leader in Molapo Extension. He helped the community to acquire a crèche, park, school and street lights. He had moved to the area in 1973 after a stay at George Goch.

"Moafrika" died on the December 26 2010 at a Diepkooof, Soweto, hospice after a long battle with cancer.

A memorial service in his honour will be held tomorrow at 2pm.

The funeral service will take place at 1753 Khotso Street, Molapo Extension at 8am and the procession leaves for the Lenasia Cemetery at 10am.

Farewell son of the soil!

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