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Thomas Titus Nkobi (1922 - 1994)

The Order of Luthuli in

Thomas Titus Nkobi (1922 - 1994) Awarded for:
His exceptional and selfless contribution to the struggle for a non-racial, non-sexist, free and democratic South Africa.

Profile of Thomas Titus Nkobi

Thomas Titus Nkobi was born in Southern Matabeleland on 22 October 1922. He grew up and was educated in South Africa, where his father worked in the mines as a migrant labourer.

At the tender age of 22, Nkobi cut his teeth in politics when he became involved in the first Alexandra bus boycott of 1944. He played a leading role in the 1952 Defiance Campaign. In the run-up to the Congress of the People in 1955, Nkobi served as a volunteer, travelling from village to village, collecting demands which were to be incorporated into the Freedom Charter, to be drawn up at the Congress which he attended as a delegate.

In 1958, he was appointed national organiser of the African National Congress (ANC), with the task of setting up a national system of township street committee structures known as the M-plan. Nkobi was among the thousands of political activists who were detained during the 1960 State of Emergency. After his release, he continued to work underground until 1963 when he was instructed by the ANC to leave South Africa to assist with the mobilisation of international public opinion against the Apartheid regime.

Nkobi served on the National Executive Committee of the ANC from 1968 until his death in 1994. As Treasurer General of the ANC, he travelled extensively throughout the world, soliciting funds for the various political activities and campaigns of the ANC, meticulously accounting for all resources raised. He was widely respected for his compassion and concern for the well-being of ANC members in exile.

Nkobi had the privilege of serving as a Member of Parliament in the first democratic Parliament in a free South Africa, a goal he sacrificed so much for. The success of South Africa’s democracy in its first 10 years is a tribute to patriotic men and women of Nkobi's calibre on whose shoulders the foundation was laid.