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Mthuli Ka Shezi (1947 - 1972)

The Order of Luthuli in

Mthuli Ka Shezi (1947 - 1972) Awarded for:
Political leadership and outstanding contribution to the performing arts and activism against apartheid.

Profile of Mthuli Ka Shezi

Mthuli ka Shezi was the President of the Student Representative Council at the University of Zululand and later became the Vice President of the Black People’s Convention, the forerunner to the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO).

Mthuli ka Shezi was a leading Black Consciousness Movement intellectual, political leader and cultural activist. He was also a playwright of note. Shezi’s famous play, Shanti, was performed to rave reviews by the People’s Experimental Theatre Group in the early 1970s.

Through his writing and his plays, Shezi introduced scores of South Africans to black consciousness ideas, and influenced a generation of leaders and activists.

In 1972, Mthuli ka Shezi was brutally killed after being pushed in front of a moving train at the Germiston railway station, when he came to the defence of African women who were being drenched with water from a hosepipe by a white station cleaner.