PAC vets honour Robben Islanders

DEPUTY Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and six other struggle icons, the first to be sentenced to life imprisonment by the apartheid regime, will be honoured tomorrow.

They are among 42 activists, based in and around Pretoria, who were jailed the same year the Organisation of African Unity was formed on May 25 1963.

The event, which is is scheduled for 10am tomorrow in the Mamelodi Community Hall, is organised by the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) veterans in the area.

"Our heroes have been forgotten by the government and we don't think we should allow this to happen," former Robben Islander and veteran Ike Mafole said.

"All we are doing is telling South Africans never to forget where we come from. We must constantly remind our people and educate them.

"Don't forget that (Jafta) Masemola was also the longest-serving prisoner on Robben Island."

Moseneke, now Deputy Chief Justice at the Constitutional Court, was the youngest prisoner on Robben Island when he was sentenced in 1963 at the age of 15.

Like all the other people to be remembered tomorrow, he was a member of the group that led the uprising by PAC-Poqo.

Masemola - who died in a mysterious vehicle crash in 1990 a year after he was released - and five others were the first political prisoners to be sentenced to life in prison.

They include Ike Mthimunye, Philemon Tefu and John Nkosi.

"The Tiger of Azania", as Masemola was popularly known, Dimake "Pro" Malepe and Samuel "Chips" Chibane have also passed on.

They were incarcerated for conspiracy to overthrow the apartheid government.

Other former Islanders to be honoured include Bennie Ntoele, who served two terms of 10 years, and Mark Shinners who also served two terms of 10 years and 12 years.

Shinners second spell followed the June 16 student uprisings when he was implicated in the Bethal 18 with, among others, Zephania "The Lion of Azania" Mothopeng.