He might well have been the first black leader of a free South Africa. The apartheid government saw him as so formidable an opponent that at the end of his three-year sentence for incitement it passed the infamous “Sobukwe clause”. And so Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, who died 30 years ago today, was subjected to a grotesque provision. It allowed for annually renewable banishment to Robben Island on the grounds that he, a stern anti-communist, might commit a crime in terms of the Suppression of Communism Act. After six years, he was placed under house arrest in Kimberley. But Sobukwe stands head and shoulders above his party as a leader of national historical significance. A Natal Witness editorial described him the day after his funeral as a man of “distinction, vision, moderation and courage”.