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Matsobane Morris Matsemela (1931 - )

The Order of Luthuli in

Matsobane Morris Matsemela (1931 - ) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the struggle against apartheid and standing for the ideals of a free, just and democratic South Africa.

Profile of Matsobane Morris Matsemela

Born in 1931, Mr Matsobane Morris Matsemela belonged to a legion of African National Congress (ANC) struggle veterans who sacrificed their youth and threw themselves fully into the struggle for a liberated South Africa. He played this critical role during the 1950s and 1960s. He attended school at Mashashane School up to Standard 6. 

Mr Matsemela started working at his uncle’s dairy farm in Lady Selbourne, and later moved to work for PPC before joining the staff of the Pretoria General Hospital. He joined the ANC in 1957 in Lady Selbourne after having been a member of the ANC Youth League. In 1959, he was elected as chairperson of the Selbourne ANC Branch. In 1960 after the Sharpeville Massacre, he was arrested with five others and fined. In 1961, he was among the early recruits of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), and was involved in sabotage acts directed at the offices of the Minister of Agriculture. 

Mr Matsobane was detained in Marabastad. While in prison he found out that Mr Peter Mogano, Mr Peter Nchabeleng, Mr Nelson Diale, Mr Andries Seome, Mr Andrew Mashaba, Mr Alpheus Mokabe, Mr Jackson Ntsoane and Mr Moses Makitla Molefe had a case to answer for. When he was asked to testify against them he refused to cooperate with the police. 

He was sentenced in 1964 for seven years, incarcerated in Pretoria Prison and was transferred to Leeuwkop Prison where he met Mr Henry Makgothi, Mr Wilson Mkwayi and others. He was later transferred to Robben Island. 

He was released in 1971 and deported to Lenyenye under a banning order for two years. In prison, they were brutally treated and subjected to harsh conditions. Despite persecution and suffering, Mr Matsemela remained a loyal and dedicated member of the ANC of which he is still a member up to this day. 

In 2006, he was one of the ANC candidates for the Aganang Region in Limpopo during the local government elections.

Currently, Mr Matsemela is the deputy chairperson of the ANC Veterans’ League in the Capricorn Region in Limpopo and an active member of MK’s Military Veterans’ Association in the province. We are proud to honour Mr Matsobane Morris Matsemela with the Order of Luthuli in Silver for his sacrifices and dedication to the cause of freedom and democracy.