Struggle stalwart Thomas Manthata dies of Covid-19 complications

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Tom Manthata.
Tom Manthata.
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  • Former TRC commissioner Thomas "Tom" Manthata has died at the age of 80.
  • The 80-year-old struggle stalwart reportedly died of Covid-19 complications.
  • Manthata was a founding member of the Azanian People's Organisation and served on the Human Rights Commission.

Struggle stalwart and former commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Thomas "Tom" Manthata died on Friday night at the age of 80.

His death was confirmed to News24 by ANC Veterans League president, Snuki Zikalala. 

He died of Covid-19-related complications, according to a report by SABC News.

Manthata was born on 29 November 1939, in Soekmekaar in the then Northern Transvaal. Despite being expelled from Catholic seminary "for being too political inclined", he began a teaching career in 1967 at Sekano Ntoane High School in Soweto, according to South African History Online.

He was known as "a rigorous, critical teacher who encouraged political debates among his students", which included President Cyril Ramaphosa and former Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo.

In the early 1970s, Manthata facilitated contact between Soweto students and older black consciousness activists who came into the schools as tutors, teachers and speakers.

He was actively involved in opposition politics and was detained several times, spending six years in prison. Manthata was a founding member of the Azanian People's Organisation, and later became its general secretary.

Manthata was a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and served on the Human Rights Commission. 

- Compiled by Nicole McCain

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