Today in History: Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe dies

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On 27 February 1978 Robert Sobukwe died from lung complications at Kimberly General Hospital. 

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Excerpt courtesy of www.sahistory.org.za

He was born to Hubert and Angelina Sobukwe on 5 December 1924 at Graaff-Reinet, Cape Province. He was the youngest of five boys and one girl. His father worked as a municipal labourer and a part-time woodcutter, his mother as a domestic worker and cook at a local hospital.

Sobukwe was exposed to literature at an early age by his oldest brother. His earliest education was at a mission school in Graaf Reinet. After completing Standard 6 he enrolled for a Primary Teachers’ Training Course for two years, but he was not given a teaching post. He then went back to high school, enrolling at the Healdtown Institute, where he spent six years studying with financial assistance provided by George Caley, the school’s headmaster, and completed his Junior Certificate (JC) and matric. Sobukwe’s schooling was briefly interrupted in 1943 when he was admitted to a hospital suffering from tuberculosis.

After completing his schooling he received a bursary from the Department of Education and an additional loan from the Bantu Welfare Trust, which enabled him to enrol at Fort Hare University for tertiary education in 1947. Sobukwe registered for a BA majoring in English, Xhosa and Native Administration. His keen interest in literature continued and became more focused on poetry and drama.

Sobukwe noted that before going to Fort Hare, he was not very interested in politics. It was his study of Native Administration that aroused his interest in politics. This new focus was fuelled by the influence of one of his lecturers, Cecil Ntloko, a follower of the All African Convention (AAC). Fort Hare was also the institution in which generations of young Black South Africans and Black students from other African countries were exposed to politics. These influences combined to make Sobukwe more politically active.

Read the rest here http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/robert-mangaliso-sobukwe

 

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