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Peter Ramoshoane Mokaba (Posthumous)

The Order of Luthuli in

Peter Ramoshoane Mokaba (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His valiant and gallant contribution to the national liberation struggle against apartheid, and his contribution towards the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist, free and democratic South Africa.
Profile of Peter Ramoshoane Mokaba

Peter Ramoshoane Mokaba was born on 7 January 1959 in Mankweng, Polokwane, where he did both his primary and secondary education.

During the 1976 student uprisings, Peter Mokaba became a leader of student school boycotts, when the apartheid regime declared Afrikaans as a compulsory media of instruction in schools. That led to his expulsion and banishment from schools. He, nevertheless, managed to complete his Matric through self-study in 1978. As a Matric pupil, Mokaba participated in the student uprisings that marked a critical turning point in the tempo of the anti-apartheid struggle and then went on to enrol at the University of the North (Turfloop) in 1980.

He continued with political activism as a student and was detained under the Terrorism Act, 1967 in 1977. In 1982, Mokaba was convicted for a number of his underground activities as a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe and served his sentence on Robben Island.

His sentence was subsequently suspended in 1984 and he went on to actively participate in the formation and activities of the United Democratic Front (UDF). Peter Mokaba was elected to become the first president of the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO) in the midst of the State of Emergency in 1987, the largest youth organisation at the time, and an affiliate of the UDF.

When the liberation movement was unbanned in February 1990, Mokaba led the youth who were members of SAYCO, together with other youth formations such as the Congress of South African Students, South African National Students’ Congress, National Union of South African Students, Young Christian Students and many others towards the formal establishment of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL). He was elected the first president of the ANCYL after it was unbanned.

Mokaba was elected to the ANC National Executive Committee in 1991. After the dawn of democracy in 1994, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Tourism in the first democratically elected South African Parliament in the Cabinet led by President Nelson Mandela. By the time of his death, Peter Mokaba had been appointed by the ANC to head the preparations for the 2004 election campaign.

He was honoured when the Polokwane Stadium, which hosted some of the games of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, was named after him. Peter Mokaba was a firebrand, militant and radical youth leader who led and inspired South African youth to play a leading role in the struggle waged against the apartheid regime. He was an excellent, relentless organiser, a disciplined cadre of the ANC and an inspiring leader. He died in Johannesburg on 9 June 2002.