Back to top

Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa

The Order of Luthuli in

Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the struggle against apartheid. His commitment to the people of South Africa continues to make a difference.
Profile of Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa

Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa was born in 1939 in Barberton, in Mpumalanga. He received his primary schooling in Barberton and Lydenburg and he matriculated from the Pax College in Polokwane. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in June 1965 after his training at St Peter’s Seminary. He worked as a priest in Witbank until 1970, when he was seconded to the church’s general secretariat of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Pretoria.

In 1973, he went to study further at the University of Leuven in Belgium, obtaining a Masters Degree in philosophy and theology. On his return to South Africa Father Mkhatshwa became heavily involved in leading the anti-apartheid struggle. From 1976 repeated detentions were imposed on him. Initially he was detained for four months. This was soon followed by a five-year ban, which expired in 1983. He was again detained after two months and charged with subversion, incitement to public violence and addressing an unlawful meeting. However, he was found not guilty and released the following year. At the establishment of the United Democratic Front, Father Mkhatshwa was nominated as a patron.

Between 1994 and 2000 he held a number of prominent positions in government as well as in the ANC. In 1994 he was elected to the National Assembly and in 1996 became the Deputy Minister of Education, a post he held until 1999. He was elected to the ANC National Executive Committee in 1997. In 2000 he became the Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane.