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Motsamai Keyecwe Mpho (1921 - )

The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in

Motsamai Keyecwe Mpho (1921 - ) Awarded for:
Excellent contribution to their struggle for liberation, democracy and human rights in South Africa.
Profile of Motsamai Keyecwe Mpho

Motsamai Keyecwe Mpho was born in 1921 in Botswana (then Bechuanaland). In 1948, he worked at Crown Mines as a welfare assistant.

The Defiance Campaign of 1952 inspired Mpho to join the African National Congress (ANC) and he started attending rallies in Sophiatown.

In 1953, Mpho was employed by the South African Christian Council and he became very active in the ANC. As Organising Secretary of the Western Transvaal, he brought more than 200 delegates from the West Rand ANC branches to the famous Congress of the People in Kliptown in 1955.

In 1956, he was among the leaders who were arrested at the Drill Hall and charged with high treason. He was one of the first group of 67 Treason Trial detainees discharged together with Chief Albert Luthuli. The ANC was banned but its activities continued.

Mpho also organised the committee members of Randfontein Old Location to burn their passes. He was arrested during such a campaign in the West Rand, for entering Westonaria Location without a permit.

It was during his detention in Pretoria Prison that he married his wife Onalepelo Hannah Macheng on 7 July 1960. A few days later, prison officials instructed him to leave South Africa within seven days and not to return. On 9 August 1960, Mpho left South Africa for Botswana.

While in Bechuanaland, Mpho formed the Botswana Independence Party, an active political party that assisted South African political activists to cross the Bechuanaland border en route to exile in Lusaka, Zambia, where the ANC had an office.

Motsamai's Mpho’s commitment to the course of human freedom was universal and transcended borders.