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Clarence Mlamli Makwetu (1928 - )

The Order of Luthuli in

Clarence Mlamli Makwetu (1928 - ) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the struggle for a non-racial, non-sexist, just and democratic South Africa.

Profile of Clarence Mlamli Makwetu

Clarence Mlamli Makwetu was born in 1928 in the Cofimvaba area, Eastern Cape. After going through different educational institutions, he went to Cape Town to seek employment in 1948. In Cape Town he became an active member of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League. In 1959 he became very instrumental in the formation of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). He was the first PAC secretary of the Langa Flats branch.

He later became the regional chairperson of the Western Cape, then a PAC stronghold. On 29 March 1960, Makwetu was arrested and detained for his involvement in the Anti-pass campaign, in terms of the first State of Emergency to be declared in South Africa. He was released from detention in September 1960.

After his release, he intensified his PAC activities until August 1961 when he was banished to Cofimvaba. In August 1962 he was arrested in Transkei and brought back to Cape Town to stand trial on charges of conducting an illegal gathering. He was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on Robben Island. On his release from Robben Island he was escorted to Transkei.

In June 1976, he was once again detained for political activism and released in May 1977. In December 1979, he was banished by his cousin, the then Transkei ruler, Chief Kaiser Matanzima, to the Libode district. In December 1989 he became the first President of the Pan Africanist Movement (PAM), the front organisation of the PAC. When the PAC was unbanned in 1990, PAM was dissolved and Makwetu became the Deputy President of the PAC. On the death of the PAC president, Zeph Mothopeng, in 1990, Makwetu was elected President of the PAC. He served in this position until 1996. After the 1994 democratic elections, Makwetu led the PAC delegation to the National Assembly.

Makwetu was a political activist for 40 years from 1954 to 1994, when he retired from active politics. A staunch Africanist, Makwetu's role in the struggle for the liberation of South Africa is extraordinary.