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Brigadier General Velaphi Msane

The Order of Luthuli in

Brigadier General Velaphi Msane Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the liberation struggle and for his steadfast conviction in the equality of all. His courage allowed him to put his people first, with scant regard for his own safety; he left his loved ones behind to fight for not just South Africans, but for all of humanity.
Brigadier General Velaphi Msane comes from a family line of warriors who fought against inequalities and did not stand the injustice of apartheid.

He joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1973 and left the country three years later for military training. He joined Umkhonto we Sizwe’s (MK) special operations unit that was established in the early 1980s to carry out economic sabotage attacks in South Africa from its base in Mozambique.

He became a seasoned and highly skilled member of MK’s armed wing. Despite the fearsome tyranny of the security forces, Msane infiltrated South Africa on numerous occasions to face the enemy and carry out missions.

His training included the use of firearms, and manufacture and use of explosives. He was also trained in advanced political ideology. After completing his military training, he returned to South Africa in April 1980 with a colleague, who is now deceased.

He was part of the Solomon Mahlangu Special Operations outfit. They had to purchase a motor vehicle to be used in special operations that would commence on 1 June 1980.

On 25 May 1980, they collected other comrades at the border and all 10 members of the unit penetrated into South Africa to implement economic sabotage on strategic installations.

Msane faced many confrontations with the apartheid security police and lost many of his comrades in the process. His fierce military engagements against the apartheid government contributed to the freedom and democracy we enjoy today. After democracy was achieved, Msane served in the South African National Defence Force.