Nkosi Molala: September 5 1951-September 4 2016 No equal to Molala’s intellect and humanity

2016-09-11 07:18
Nkosi Molala

Nkosi Molala

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Nkosi Molala was an inimitable soccer player with an incredible flow of razor-sharp ideas and a political genius.

He was characterised by the usual depth of a thoroughgoing Catholic education that he had been immersed in, much like his leader and mentor, Steve Biko.

Above all else, though, Molala was a tremendous human being.

This he did not learn from school; soccer did not imbue him with it; politics received it from him, rather than the converse; personal and social relationships were the beneficiaries of this humanity.

Molala was brave and courageous.

Apartheid and white-settler colonialism were too deeply inhuman to be intimidated by his humanity.

To withstand white supremacy’s inherent callousness required not just humanity, but courageous humanity.

Thus, in defence of the humanity of his own people and land, Molala courageously donated his own sight – a tear gas canister thrust at him by apartheid operatives blinded him in one eye.

It was once said in jest, but with a sense of reality and truth, that the Azanian People’s Organisation (Azapo) at some stage in its recent history needed a singular vision, and Molala was the only one who could have given it that vision.

No tribute to Molala would pass the test of authenticity and adequacy without recalling how this human being, gallantly, fearlessly and selflessly led the black consciousness movement (BCM) through the chilling crisis of black political parties’ internecine conflict of the early- and mid-1980s.

That was the period when, throughout the country, in places such as Soweto, Sobantu, Port Elizabeth and elsewhere, which is fairly well documented, the ANC-led and affiliated United Democratic Front and other organisations mounted relentless, violent attacks on BCM activists in an apparent attempt to wipe them out for no reason other than that they promoted blackness and not nonracialism.

Molala passes to glory at the wrong time in the history of the country.

It is a time when 22 years of failure to advance democracy, not to say anything about extending meaningful liberation and freedom, have proven the correctness of Karl Marx’s prediction:

“History is thorough and goes through many phases when carrying an old form to the grave. The last phase of a world-historical form is its comedy … Why this course of history? Oh, that humanity should part with its past cheerfully.”

Azapo has had other presidents before and after Molala.

All of them, however, may be collectively referred to as “peace-time presidents”.

All except, to some degree, Ishmael Mkhabela, during whose presidency violence against Azapo was launched, operated in relatively less challenging situations, facing clearly defined enemies, namely, the brutal apartheid regime and imperialism.

Molala’s presidency was undoubtedly the most difficult and a lesser person with lesser commitment and vision would not have survived.

Just to declare yourself to be a member of Azapo could have easily cost one’s life; worse for a president of such an organisation.

Molala had the unenviable task of leading and growing an organisation marked for total extermination. A task that many shunned for fear of what may happen to them and their families.

He led by example and continued to live in the townships where there were no guarantees.

A dead man walking.

He was strong-willed, unrelenting, intelligent, focused, never giving others tasks and responsibilities that he himself would not do.

He surely qualified to be referred to as “first among equals”.

Even in such dire situations, Molala left no one behind.

It was during this difficult period that he went back to the life he once lived and started organising soccer players into a trade union.

The Soccer Players’ Union of SA was singularly launched by Molala.

He was also encouraging Azapo through the Labour Secretariat to help build labour unions in various sectors as the first building block for the socialist project Azapo was engaged in.

Biko, Molala’s mentor, spoke of “fear as an important determinant” in South African politics.

Biko conquered and so did Molala.

Collectively, we see in Molala what is best of us and what we desire to be.

His agenda is none other than one pursued by the organisation he led. His memory will remain a well of rejuvenating “waters” and ideas.

Molala was a great human being; a leader with an intellect that is sorely missed in today’s South Africa.

Prof Itumeleng Mosala is president of the Azanian People’s Organisation and Lybon Mabasa is president of the Socialist Party of Azania

Read more on:    azapo  |  soccer

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