Back to top

Mr Collen Monde Mkunqwana (Posthumous)

The Order of Luthuli in

Mr Collen Monde Mkunqwana (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the struggle for the liberation of the people of South Africa. He bravely sacrificed his own safety, waging resistance against a dangerous system that meted out maximum force to repress dissent.
Mr Collen Monde Mkunqwana was born in 1938 in Centane, Eastern Cape. He is a former Robben Island prisoner who distinguished himself in the struggle for the liberation of the oppressed people of South Africa. He is a descendentof Makhanda Nxele, a warrior who led the attack against the British in Grahamstown. He was considered an organic intellectual because of his gigantic influence and contribution to the education of other political prisoners.

Mkunqwana became politically conscious at a very early stage in his life. When the Defiance Campaign was launched in 1952, he followed the events and decided to join the forces of liberation. He joined politics in the early 1950s at Mafigo, in old Tsolo in East London.

He became part of the underground structures of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1960/61, when the leadership of the ANC decided to continue with the Struggle underground after political organisations were banned by the racist regime of the Nationalist Party after the Sharpeville massacre.
In East London and the entire Border region, the underground structures were led and commanded by Border Regional High Command comprising comrades Malcomess Johnson Mgabela, Douglas Zulu Sparks, Thuli Masiza, Washington Mpumelelo Bongco, Stephen Vukile Tshwete and Lungelo Shadrack Dwaba.

Mkunqwana was one of the dedicated members in the Border region to establish the local structure of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) when it was formed in 1961.

He was appointed the Chairperson of the Eastern Cape Provincial Heritage Resources Authority for a three-year term from April 2006 to March 2009. He also served as a member of the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality District Geographical Place Names Committee from 2007 to 2010.

He was also instrumental in the memorialisation and immortalisation of selfless contributions of local icons of the liberation struggle to ensure that they formed the backbone of the Liberation Heritage Route.

He was able to provide information that led to the repatriation and reburial of many MK combatants, and those of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army, from various parts of the African continent.

Mkunqwana played an important role in the repatriation of the spirit of the local hero, Makhanda kaNxele, who died on Robben Island on 25 December 1819 after attempting to escape, having been convicted for leading an attack against the British garrison at Grahamstown in what later became known as the Battle of Grahamstown of 1819.The spirit of kaNxele was ultimately laid to rest at Tshabo Village near Berlin.