Umkhonto we Sizwe cadre honoured

2016-02-17 06:00
 Zithulelo Joseph Mazibuko was known as ‘Benny Masilo’, during his politically active days.

Zithulelo Joseph Mazibuko was known as ‘Benny Masilo’, during his politically active days.

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AT the 55th anniversary celebrations of Umkhonto we Sizwe in Durban on 6 February­, the late Zithulele Joseph Mazibuko­ of Greytown was among members recognised for the role they played in the struggle for freedom and presented with awards.

Born in Greytown in 1953, he attended secondary school at Mariannhill, then KwaMashu, where he became active in resistance politics.

He was largely influenced by his aunt who was recruiting young men and women for Umkhonto we Sizwe military training outside South Africa and providing safe houses for UM operatives.

Joseph, a talented musician and keen sportsman, loved boxing, which he did professionally. He returned to Greytown and became active in resistance politics with others, establishing a football club called Arrangement FC to camouflage their political activities from the security police.

Active with the youth in 1976, his friend Thobi was arrested by the security police, tortured and murdered while in custody – this prompted Zithulele to relocate to KwaMashu.

In 1986 he returned to Greytown and continued teaching youth resistance politics. He again established a football club called Gunners, which had a large following. He advocated against the bucket system, lack of electricity and dusty roads.

In June 1986 he organised a march which resulted in detention of youth in Greytown. In 1987 he left Greytown to pursue military training under ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe in Angola and went on underground operations for years in Germany and Russia.

In 1991 he returned to South Africa during Codesa talks and lived in Ashdown in Pietermaritzburg, but undertook several­ operations in Greytown to bring about peace. He was one of the cadres in the defence units that protected communities in Imbali and worked with a fellow musician in Imbali to counsel traumatised youth. Zithulele then married and went to University of Natal, where he obtained a BA degree, majoring in music. He joined the SA National Defence Force and rose to the rank of colonel. He died in 2002.

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