Obit: Exiled former Azapo leader dies in England

2011-05-28 17:42

Exiled former Azapo general secretary George Wauchope died in Britain on Thursday after a long battle with cancer.

Azapo spokesperson Gaontebale Nodoba expressed his sadness that Wauchope would never return home.

“Lest we forget, it should be stated for the record that comrade Wauchope made several attempts to come back home, but was ­denied permission by the powers that be,” Nodoba said in a ­statement.

Wauchope, the former leader of the Black People’s Convention, played a pivotal role in the student uprising of 1976. When Azapo was established in 1979 he became the movement’s first publicity secretary. He fled South Africa in 1985 after the murder of a UDF activist.

He lived in exile in Zimbabwe and Botswana, where he was an Anglican priest.

Even after the unbanning of ­political organisations by the apartheid government, Wauchope remained in exile as he was denied amnesty. Later he was still denied entry to the country and feared arrest in connection with the murder of a UDF activist in Soweto in the mid-80s during the internecine violence in townships between Azapo and the UDF.

Azapo also boycotted the amnesty process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

He was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and moved to London for treatment. “Azapo expresses condolences to the family and friends of the late comrade Wauchope,” Nodoba said.

Wauchope will be cremated in England and his ashes flown to South Africa for burial.

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