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Flag Marutle Boshielo (1920 - )

The Order of Luthuli in

Flag Marutle Boshielo (1920 - ) Awarded for:
Exceptional contribution to the struggle for liberation and workers’ rights.

Profile of Flag Marutle Boshielo

Flag Marutle Boshielo was born into a poor family in 1920 in Phokoane in the Sekhukhune district, in the then Northern Transvaal. He was the founder member of Sebatakgomo, a resistance movement in Sekhukhuneland.

He later went to Johannesburg to seek employment. Boshielo's political activism started while he was working as a driver for a bakery in Johannesburg, when he recruited workers to join the Bakery Workers’ Union and the broader liberation movement. His outstanding leadership saw him elected to the national leadership of the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). Boshielo joined the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) and the African National Congress (ANC) in the 1940s and became an active member. His commitment, bravery and dedication to the cause of his people saw him elected to serve in the Transvaal Executive Committee of the ANC. The CPSA assisted Boshielo to further his studies through evening classes. He actively participated in the historic Defiance Campaign of 1952, one of the highlights of the liberation struggle in South Africa. Owing to his revolutionary role in the liberation struggle, Boshielo became a prime target in the wave of apartheid repression. He was barred from attending gatherings and ordered to resign from all organisations to which he belonged.

The ANC subsequently sent him for political and military training in Moscow, in the then Soviet Union. Upon completion of his military training, he was sent to Tanzania to form part of the Congwa camp of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). While in Tanzania and Zambia, Boshielo played a prominent role in MK. In 1972, he was captured near Caprivi (bordered by Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe), while on his way to South Africa with two other freedom fighters to undertake an MK operation. His two comrades were killed instantly in a shootout and it is believed that Boshielo was captured and incarcerated by Ian Smith's forces in the then Rhodesia. Boshielo has not been seen since. The exemplary political contribution of Flag Boshielo remains an inspiration to freedom-loving South Africans.