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Cleopas Madoda Nsibande (Posthumous)

The Order of Luthuli in

Cleopas Madoda Nsibande (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His exceptional contribution to the fight for equality and democracy for all South Africans, especially the workers who had to deal with a myriad of indignities. He steadfastly challenged unjust labour laws through efficient organisation and galvanising workers to take a stand for their rights.
Profile of Mr Cleopas Madoda Nsibande

Mr Cleopas Madoda Nsibande was born on 25 March 1928. In 1950 he became involved in trade union struggles. He advocated for the protection of workers and for a living wage.

He led a strike which was famously known as the “Fight for Upondo Ngelanga” (Fight for a Pound-a-Day). Nsibande was an active member of the African National Congress (ANC) for many years.

He joined the ANC in the 1940s. He was a close friend and confidant of the late Isithwalandwe/Seaparankwe President Oliver Reginald Tambo. He was a prominent trade unionist and a founding member of the South African Congress of Trade Unions.

Nsibande was one of the key campaigners who travelled the length and breadth of our country mobilising people to express their views and aspirations as par t of the process towards the adoption of the Freedom Charter in 1955. He was one of the leaders who were arrested and tried during the 1956 Treason Trial. In 1958, he was a leading campaigner in the boycott in the Southern Transvaal, which was a response to the discovery of the graves of the past offenders who were sold to the farmers as cheap labour. After the banning of the ANC in 1960, Nsibande continued to do underground work and maintained contact with the exiled leadership. In particular, he played a key role in opening the way for the ANC to set up its structures.

After the unbanning of the ANC in 1990, he was instrumental in the building of the ANC in Ekurhuleni and Gauteng in general. In 2000 Nsibande was called upon to serve as the convener of the Gauteng Interim Leadership Core, which was tasked to unite the ANC in Gauteng.