Peter Mokaba

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Peter Mokaba
Born(1959-01-07)January 7, 1959
DiedJune 9, 2002(2002-06-09) (aged 43)

Peter Mokaba, OLG (7 January 1959 – 9 June 2002) was a member of the South African parliament, deputy minister in the government of Nelson Mandela and president of the South African governing party's youth wing, the ANC Youth League.[1] The Peter Mokaba Stadium, a Polokwane stadium used for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, was named after him.[2]

He was a friend of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Mandela.[3] At the time of his death, he had been appointed to head the ANC electoral campaign in 2004,[4] and his funeral was attended by former President Nelson Mandela, President Thabo Mbeki and Deputy President Jacob Zuma.[5] Julius Malema has described Mokaba as a personal hero.[6]


Peter Ramoshoane Mokaba was born on 7 January 1959 in Mankweng near Polokwane (then Pietersburg), where he did both his primary and secondary education.

During the 1976 student uprisings, Peter Mokaba became a leader of student school boycotts, when the apartheid regime declared Afrikaans as a compulsory media of instruction in schools. That led to his expulsion and banishment from schools. He, nevertheless, managed to complete his Matric through self-study in 1978. As a Matric pupil, Mokaba participated in the student uprisings that marked a critical turning point in the tempo of the anti-apartheid struggle and then went on to enrol at the University of the North (Turfloop) in 1980.[7]

In 1982, he was convicted for a number of his underground activities as a member of paramilitary organization Umkhonto we Sizwe and was sentenced to prison on the Robben Island; yet, his sentence was suspended in 1984.

Subsequently, he renewed his anti-regime activities, especially among the youth. In 1987, he was elected as the first president of the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO). One year later, he was again charged with commanding Umkhonto we Sizwe in the northern Transvaal province but acquitted when his co-accused comrades refused to testify against him. When the liberation movement was unbanned in February 1990, Mokaba led the SAYCO movement, together with other youth formations (Congress of South African Students, South African National Students’ Congress, National Union of South African Students, Young Christian Students, etc.) to formal establishment of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and became the first president of this united organisation.

Mokaba was elected to the ANC National Executive Committee in 1991. After the end of apartheid era in 1994, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Tourism in the first democratically elected South African Parliament in the cabinet led by President Nelson Mandela. By the time of his death, Peter Mokaba had been appointed by the ANC to head the preparations for the 2004 national election campaign.[8]

Apartheid spy accusation[edit]

In the book Askari, by Jacob Dlamini, it is asserted that Mokaba was an apartheid spy at one point. He was turned from insurgent to counter-insurgent by the apartheid government. Seeing that the Youth League, greatly influenced by Mokaba, would be greatly demoralised, the Lusaka ANC leadership decided to spare his life. According to the book, that was only after serious deals were reached with him that are known only to the current ANC leadership. There are a number of other accounts that claim that he was an apartheid spy.[9][10]

Personal views[edit]

AIDS denialism[edit]

It is unclear if Mokaba himself had HIV, but nevertheless he was an AIDS denialist.[11][12] He died in 2002 of pneumonia. He claimed that drugs had no benefits "beyond profits for the pharmaceutical industry". The fight against the companies, he said, should be waged with the same intensity as the struggle against apartheid. Privately, he assured supporters that HIV and AIDS were part of an "international Western plot" to decimate blacks and "regain colonial control" in Africa.[13]

"Kill the farmer, kill the Boer"[edit]

Mokaba became known in the early 1990s for his use of the slogan "Kill the farmer, kill the Boer". The chant was ruled as hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission in 2003.[14][15] Opponents of the song argue that it bears a literal interpretation, inciting racial violence against whites;[16] defenders claim that its value is purely as a reminder of South Africa's history and that it does not incite violence.[17]


  1. ^ jonas (2011-12-21). "African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) Timeline 1944-2011". South African History Online. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  2. ^ "Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane: World Cup 2010 stadium guide". The Daily Telegraph. 2009-11-19. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  3. ^ "Winnie Saves Face at ANC Conference". South African Press Association. 1997-12-17.
  4. ^ "The death of Peter Mokaba". African National Congress. 2002-06-09. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  5. ^ Reporter, Staff (2002-01-01). "Hambe Kahle Peter Mokaba". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  6. ^ Malema defends 'his hero' Mokaba, Gugu Mbonambi, Yusuf Moolia and Sapa, IOL, 2010
  7. ^ Makena, Abijah. "Achieve1". South african history online. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  8. ^ See his obituary at the Presidency of the South Africa website
  9. ^ Two faces of Mokaba, Gavin Evans, Mail & Guardian, 14 June 2002/
  10. ^ The Dark Side of Journalism, Franz Kruger, 'WITS Journalism, 2006
  11. ^ Two faces of Mokaba, Gavin Evans, Mail & Guardian, 14 June 2002
  12. ^ Hambe Kahle Peter Mokaba, Mail & Guardian, 2002
  13. ^ "Peter Mokaba". The Daily Telegraph. 2002-06-10. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  14. ^ "Parties unite against Mokaba 'hate speech'". IOL. 2002-06-17. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  15. ^ "South Africa Panel Reverses Its Ruling On 'Hate Speech'". The New York Times. 2003-07-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  16. ^ Sapa (2010-03-11). "ANC OK with Malema singing "shoot the boer"". Politicsweb. Archived from the original on 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  17. ^ Govender, Peroshni (2010-03-30). "South Africa's ANC defends "Kill the Boer" song". Reuters. Retrieved 2017-09-14.

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