Dr. Motsoko Pheko Biographical Sketch By Reginald Moon

Dr. Motsoko Pheko: Political Scientist, Theologian, Historian, Lawyer, Researcher, Author of over thirty books in these fields and over five thousand articles in these fields including speeches at the United Nations in New York, UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, South African Parliament for ten years and elsewhere; a co-founder of OUR AFRICA Magazine, Daystar University and founder of, Tokoloho (Freedom) Publishers. He is a former Representative of the victims of apartheid and colonialism at the United Nations in New York; and at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, as well as former Member of the South African Parliament for ten years. When he left Parliament, he had a choice of practicing law as Advocate of High Court of South Africa or lecturing in international law at University level. But he decided to be a researcher, author and publisher in the four above mentioned branches of epistemology.

Dr. Motsoko Pheko grew up as a shepherd at a place called Mangoloaneng in today’s Eastern Cape of South Africa. It is surrounded by two other places called Ngodilwe and Mangolong. These names in English variously mean “At the Letters” or “at the Writings,” respectively. He lost his parents when he was nine years old. He was brought up by his mother’s elder sister, Mrs. Mohau Emily Moerane and her husband Daniel M. Moerane.

He was born at a place called Sehlabathebe (pierce the enemy’s shield).This was on the 13th of November 1930. Sehlabathebe is a two-hour drive to Lesotho from Matatiele in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. During the liberation struggle against colonialism and apartheid, he had the distinction of a freedom fighter that was imprisoned by three colonial regimes namely, South Africa, Rhodesia and Portuguese Mozambique for his anti-colonial activities and racism. Dr. Pheko lived in exile from August 1963 to February1995.

In April 1963, a Roodepoort Magistrate Court had earlier refused him bail on the ground that he was “a young intelligent educated Bantu (African).” And that “such Bantu belonged to the radical Pan Africanist Congress.”

Pheko did his Standard Six (Grade Seven) at Mariazell Institution in Matatiele, Cape Province. He did also his three-year Junior Certificate also here. But he was promoted and did it in two years instead of three years. His subjects were Commercial Arithmetic, Typewriting, Shorthand, Bookkeeping, Commerce, English, Southern Sesotho, General Science and Geography.

After his Junior Certificate at Mariazell Institution, he did all his education from Matriculation by correspondence or part-time (i.e. working as well as studying). His subjects were: Sesotho A, English A, Xhosa B, Agricultural Science, Book-Keeping, Commerce and Mercantile Law. He continued the following studies by correspondence with the University of South Africa. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of South Africa, majoring in Political Science and Systematic Theology and reading Sesotho Language, English, Sociology and History.

He did his Bachelor of Laws degree with the University of Zambia, a Master of Laws degree in international law with the University of London, a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Kensington (part-time). His Thesis here was: SOUTH AFRICA: A FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION OF COLONIALISM AND SELF-DETERMINATION CLOUDED BY RACISM, MUTALATION OF HISTORY AND MANIPULATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW.

One of the significant contributions he made during the liberation struggle against colonialism was to give information to the Pan Africanist Congress leaders when they campaigned against the illegality of South Africa as a state in international law at the United Nations. His research reinforced the PAC Case which exposed to the world that South Africa had not become “independent state” in 1910 through the Union of South Africa Act 1909.

 Dr. Pheko had given some of his information on his researched paper to Pan Africanist Congress leaders. Some of these were Edwin L. Makoti and David M. Sibeko. They were the official PAC researchers on the campaign to have colonial South Africa expelled from the United Nations; as non-state in international law.

On this issue, Prof. Tom Lodge of Witwatersrand University later wrote: “In 1974 the Pan Africanist Congress succeeded in obtaining the expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations General Assembly and in 1975, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Meeting in Uganda adopted as official policy a long document prepared by the PAC arguing for the illegality of South Africa’s status.” (Tom Lodge Black Politics In South Africa Since 1945)

Dr. Pheko was admitted as Advocate to the High Court of Zambia in Lusaka as well as Advocate to the Supreme Court of South Africa in Pretoria. He served as a Member of Parliament in South Africa from 1999 to 2009.

Theologically, He pioneered the interpretation of Romans 13-2. This scripture verse teaches obedience to governments. Some colonial missionaries had used this scripture portion of the Bible to uphold the authority of colonial regimes in Africa. Dr. Pheko disagreed with this missionary interpretation. He pointed out that Roman 13:1-2 was there when colonialists came to Africa and overthrew African governments.

It took sixteen years for some theologians to accept Dr. Pheko’s theological position. This was after the holding of the Pan African Christian Leadership Assembly (PACLA) in Nairobi Kenya in 1976.At this Assembly Dr. Pheko had given a paper titled THE CHURCH AND POLITICAL PROTEST. DECISION Magazine; a publication of the famous American Evangelist Dr. Billy Graham Crusade Association published extracts from Pheko’s paper agreeing with his theological position.

While in exile, Dr. Pheko became also a co-founder of a university in Bulawayo in colonial Rhodesia, now an independent Zimbabwe. This University was finally established in Nairobi Kenya because of the rebellion of the Rhodesian colonialists under Ian Smith on 11th November 1965.

As one writer has written, “Daystar University’s origins go back to 1967 When Donald K. Smith an American missionary and Motsoko Pheko a journalist who was a political refugee from South Africa envisioned the founding of a Christian high institution of learning in Rhodesia where they were both based.” (DAYSTAR UNIVERSITY JUNE 2015)

On the 16th August 2018 Dr. Pheko received a letter that read:

Dear Dr. Pheko,

Greetings, I am writing you this email to express appreciation to you for your great achievements on the Continent [of Africa]. I am an alumni of Daystar University in Kenya. I work in South Africa at the University of Johannesburg. I read your name in the Daystar University Handbook and saw that you are actually one of the founding fathers of this University together with Dr. Donald Smith.

I submitted my request to the Daystar University Alumni Association to bring you on board to Kenya so that you can see how Daystar University has grown and become a great University….I am looking forward to hearing from you and taking you to Kenya.

Eric B. Niyitunga (D. Litte et Phil Senior Lecturer

(**His home country is Burundi. He was educated at Daystar University and in France.)

Dr. Pheko is a lover of education. He has had tenacity for acquisition of epistemology – the science of knowledge. He believes that relevant education is the only type that can define the destiny of Africa’s children and nation. “Our education must speak to an economy that uses technology. We need satellites that will protect our oceans from poaching. We need technology to plant food that is climate resistant.”

He has declared, “We need an education that transforms our Continent to self-reliance. Our economic resources are useless to us as Africans, as long as we lack technology. No amount of ‘foreign aid’ will develop Africa. Only the sweat and technological skills and knowledge of the sons and daughters of Africa will develop Africa. Self-help is the best African help. It is self-care. It is self-aid. It is self-management, nationally and continentally. To succeed on a large scale on this; Africans must do all things together.”

On 15 March 2019 he received this letter:

“Greetings Dr. Pheko,

First and foremost, on behalf of the Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Centre at the University of Virgin Islands; we extend our appreciation for the public accessibility of your lectures, articles and related publications providing analytical research and accurate socio-political resources of the current affairs in the African continent and the impact throughout the African Diaspora….

Additionally, we welcome receiving information regarding the requirements to host you for lectures and or workshops at the University of the Virgin Islands and our community in 2019 as your schedule permits….

Dr. Chenzira Davis Kahina,

Director Shared In Culture, Heritage and Education “

Dr. Pheko is a widely read person in various fields of knowledge. He believes that a reading people will soon be a thinking people and that a thinking people will soon be a great people not easy to be cheated as has happened in Africa to Africans by some foreign powers. He agrees with Prof. Dani Wadala Nabudere of Uganda that:

“For Africa to regain her dignity she must recreate her own world view and identity through knowledge.” He agreed also with Prof. Ngungi wa Thi’ongo of Kenya that: “Africa does not need charity… but liberation.” He agreed also with Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe who like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana had a vision of Africa as “a giant monolithic state of Africa.”

Dr. Pheko was a distinguished Member of the South African Parliament for ten years. A leading newspaper in South Africa, BUSINESS DAY reported him as the best speaker of the Year in 2002. This paper said, “In what was the best speech in Parliament this year, Pan Africanist Congress Deputy President Dr. Motsoko Pheko warned: “A constitution is not a key to open a bed room to take political prostitutes to bed….”

He is very strong on his views. When the media asked him if he would consider crossing to any political party in Parliament, he answered, “The day I cross from the Pan Africanist Congress to the ANC; it will be a sign that horses have grown horns. I am not for sale and stomach politics.”

He was very effective in the South African Parliament. To appreciate this profoundly, read his autobiography about how he got the British Embassy expelled from the Premises of the South African Parliament. It had located itself here since it bought that piece land for two shillings and sixpence (25 cents today). The ANC government had allowed this to continue.

But it was also when his opponents tried to ridicule him on the name Azania for South Africa. For instance, the Citizen newspaper of 13 October 2000 reported this on him in Parliament in Cape Town:

                        MIGHTY AZANIA:

“Dr. Motsoko Pheko of the PAC – Pan Africanist Congress; has a particularly rich deep voice, but had trouble being heard during a portfolio committee debate. Committee Chairman Mluleki George trying to ridicule him, advised him to switch on “the microphone of Azania” on the desk in front of him. Pheko duly did so, and then solemnly announced over the system: “Greetings from Great Azania!”

Some of Dr. Pheko’s philosophy is based on seven Bible verses. “And we know that all things work for good to them that love God, to them that are called to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“Whether you eat or drink, whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:30)

“Therefore, all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is, the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) “And as you would that men do to you, do you also to them likewise.” (Luke 6:31)

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, as wise, redeeming time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” Matthew 20:27) “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)

According to him, life is God’s favour. Time is opportunity to fulfill the earthly mission God has given each one of us. Time must not be wasted and opportunity must not be missed. He has upheld integrity in politics. When a certain faction in politics falsely accused of him embezzling funds and purported to expel him this is what happened.  

Judgement Of Court In Favour Of Dr. Motsoko Pheko

Case No. 12174/2008 In The High Court Of South Africa Cape Town: Thursday 23 April 2009

Before the Honourable Ms Justice Meer

Having heard the Legal Representative of the Applicant and having read the document filed record

IT IS ORDERED;

1. That the First Respondent’s opposition to the application under case, 12177/2008 is struck out.

2.That the Respondents are directed not to give effect to the resolution passed by the National Congress on 4 July 2008 of the First Respondent upholding the decision of the National Executive Committee to expel the Applicant as a member of the First Respondent (“the resolution”).

3. That the Second Respondent are interdicted and restrained from swearing any person in as a member of the National Assembly in the place and stead of MOTSOKO PHEKO (“the applicant”)

4.That the resolution which was passed by the National Congress to expel the applicant as a member of the First Respondent (“the resolution”) is set aside and declared null and void.

5. That the Constitution which was adopted by the First Respondent at its meeting on 4-6 July 2008 is set aside and declared to be null and void.

6. That the First Respondent is to pay the costs of:

6.1.the applicant brought under case no. 12174/2008,and

6: 2 and this application.

BY ORDER OF THE COURT

Signed……………………………

COURT REGISTRAR

Dr. Pheko has written over 32 books and over fifteen thousand articles, speeches and letters to editors. They were published inside and outside Africa. Some of the publications for which he wrote are NEW AFRICAN Magazine and the electoral PAMBAZUKA. The latter has been reported as having a circulation of over half- a million readers.

 One of Dr. Pheko’s articles PAN AFRICAN HISTORY: Pan Africanism Past Present And Future published in Pambazuka has been reported to have been read by over 200,000 readers. He began to write letters to editors in 1952 then aged 22 years. In 1955 he met Dr. Donald K. Smith and Dr. Faye Smith with whom he founded OUR AFRICA, a monthly Christian Magazine in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2019 he is still writing at nearly 90 years of age.

 All his books and many of his important articles are preserved by the University of South Africa Documentary Centre For African Studies, Accession 133.Some are deposited also at found at UNISA Library. All his books have been deposited at the National Library of South Africa in Pretoria. His website is www.drmotsokopheko.co.za. Some information can be found here about him and his writings on law, theology, politics and history. He has written his uplifting and challenging biography. Its title is BATTLES OF AN AFRICAN SHEPHERD- A True Story With Pictures. Much more can be learned about his life in this over four hundred and fifty-page book.

Countries: Dr. Pheko Has Visited or Lived In

Dr. Pheko has been to the following countries, Thailand, Hong Kong, United States Of America, Italy, Germany, Belarus, Zimbabwe, Russia, Egypt, Zambia, Sweden, Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Denmark, Poland, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Brazil, Virgin Islands, St. Thomas Island, Britain, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Philippines, India and France.

Among his other activities in exile Dr. Pheko became a Representative of the victims of apartheid and colonialism at the United Nations in New York and at the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. He called for release of political prisoners such as Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, Zephania Mothopeng, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Selby Ngendane, Nyati John Pokela, Walter Sisulu etc.

Some Academic References Given To Dr. Motsoko Pheko

  1. A letter from London University 30th June 1988 read:

“To Whom It May Concern:

I taught Mr. Pheko in the academic year 1984-1985 when I was a lecturer at London University. I have since that time left the University in order to work as a lawyer at the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Mr. Pheko took two LL.M. courses with me out of four courses necessary for qualification, namely, the International Law for Protection of Human Rights and International Law of Armed Conflict and the Use of Force. Both courses are intensive in that they are very large amount of material as well as on analytical understanding of issues involved.

I remember Mr. Pheko as being a very conscious student who did not miss a single lecture class and who was always well prepared. He had moreover, a good understanding of the essentials of the subject.  This is reflected in the examination results. I therefore, believe that he would be well able to teach international law as well as pursue research in the material.

On a personal level, Mr. Pheko is a pleasant person who I am sure would be well liked at the institution.

Signed: Louise-Doswald-Beck

Member of the Legal Division of the International Red Cross in Geneva”

  • For its part, The British Institute of International and Comparative Law had on 24th June 1988 written: “This is to certify that …Motsoko Pheko, an LL.M. student in the years 1984 to 1986, attended the seminars on the Law of Treaties which I conducted with Mr. D.M Hutchinson throughout the academic year 1985/1986.Mr. Pheko actively participated in the seminars and showed great understanding of International Law.

Lady Fox

Director”

  • For his part Prof. Jim Read, Head of Department Comparative Public Law, London School of Oriental and African Studies on 30th June 1988 wrote:

“To Whom It May Concern

Motsoko Pheko Esq. LL.M.

I am glad to have this opportunity to recommend Mr. Pheko as a suitable Candidate for appointment to lecture in law at a university level.

Mr. Pheko was a student in the class I taught for the LL.M. course in African Law during the session 1985/1986. He made a distinct impression in African Law as an industrious and conscientious post graduate student who made valuable and articulate contributions to seminar discussions. It was therefore no surprise when he achieved a good result in his LL.M. examinations.

Mr. Pheko is a reliable and mature person of integrity and would, in my opinion, be a valuable member of a University Law Department. I therefore, recommend him as suitable candidate for appointment.

Jim Read

Head of Department”

On 28th November 1985 the Law Association of Zambia wrote:

“To Whom It May Concern:

Re: Motsoko Pheko – Advocate

The above named person was admitted to practice as an Advocate of the High Court of Zambia on 7th December 1979 and did practice under the legal firm of Mwisiya & Co which is still in practice in Zambia. Before leaving Zambia, he was a holder of Practising Certificate No.2772 for the year 1981 which has since expired as the same was only for one (1) year like all other cases. We have nothing against him in the Law Association of Zambia and nothing against him at the Bar.

The above being the case on Mr. Pheko, I have no hesitation in recommending him for whatever post he may seek to get in the legal profession.

Yours faithfully

LEGAL PRACTITIONER’S COMMITTEE

B.C. WILLOMBE

HON. SECRETARY.

On this planet Dr. Pheko often reminds through a quotation he likes most that: “The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching our goals, but in having no goals to reach. It is not a calamity to die with ideals unfulfilled, but it is a calamity to have no ideals to fulfill. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach.”

He has great respect for that oldest book in the world called the Bible, also known as the Word of God. He never put any of his books on top of his Bible. His Bible is always placed on top of all his books. This to him is to symbolise that God is Supreme, Creator and is Source of knowledge and wisdom.

Out of the more than thirty books he has written are: AFRICAN INVENTORS AND THEIR INVENTIONS As well as AFRICANS IN THE BIBLE AND WORLD HISTORY. Dr. Pheko has pointed out that the Bible message has been presented in Africa in a manner that distorts Africa and people of African descent by many Europeans. He has pointed out that, all people mentioned in Genesis 10:6-20 are Africans –Kushites. They are descendants of Ham.

 He has written that Africans are mentioned more than 1000 times in the Bible. God has done many things with Africans. The first five books of the Bible were written by a person born in Africa, grown up in Africa, educated in Africa and eventually married to an African woman Zipporah (Numbers 12:1).

His name was Moshesh. He is popularly known as Moses (Exodus 2:10).He was educated in the highest institutions in Africa. Paul has written, “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” (Acts 7:22).Ancient Egyptians were Africans. They were the descendants of Mizraim one of the sons of Ham.

His father-in-law was an African priest. He became also Moses’ adviser when the Jews were leaving Africa for Canaan or Palestine. His name was Jethro (Exodus 3:1, 18:1:12). He was known also by the name of Ruel (Exodus.2:18)

Ancient Jews who by the way were protected in Africa by Africans and preserved here were not “white.” Examples are Moses, Naaman, Miriam and Gehazi (Exodus 4:6, Numbers 12:10, 2 Kings 5:1,27). This is as written in the Septuagint and the Vulgate Bible. What is white cannot turn “leprous as snow.” The miracle makes it clear that what was black was turned “leprous as snow” and then black to what it originally was.

Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ looked like Africans.”Are you not that Egyptian, which before these days, made an uproar and led out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?” (Acts 21:38), Paul was asked. He answered, “I am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech you, suffer me to speak to the people.” (Acts 21:39)

Dr. Pheko has drawn attention to Dr .Felix Konotey-Ahulu, a leading scientist and author of a world acclaimed major textbook on medicine. It is called THE SIKLE CELL DISEASE PATIENT. It is 643 pages long.  Dr. Konotey-Ahulu is also a composer of the 3rd millennium hymn. It has seven stanzas/verses. He is a Nigerian. He has defended the Christian faith in publications such as The British Medical Journal.

He has reminded that “Africa had more to do with Jesus than Europe because this is the continent [Africa] where he first learned how to crawl and walk. And that He was protected in Africa by Africans when the wicked King Herod wanted to kill Him as Saviour of the world.” (Hosea 11:1, Matthew 2:13-21)

Indeed, as Dr. Motsoko Pheko has added, “the first human being to be touched by the sacred blood of Jesus Christ was an African. This was Simon of Cyrene from the soil of Africa. This was at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:32.)

Jesus Christ Himself as a human being on this planet sent from Heaven by God; to redeem mankind, descends from King David an ancient Jew whose wife was Bathsheba. She was a Hittite, a descendant of Canaan and Ham. The ancient Jews spent many years in Africa whether it was 400 or 210 years. The fact is that they spent many years. On this continent, Dr. Pheko has diligently researched and found all this important information for Africa and put it in many of his writings.”

Is There Life After Death? Dr. Pheko strongly believes in life after death. He often quotes Job whom he calls a “Kushite and that ancient African,” who has asked, “If a man dies shall he live again?” He answered, “All the days of my appointed time I will wait till my change comes.” (Job 14:14)

Job added, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, not another.” (Job 19:25-27)

Dr. Pheko has spoken of Jesus Christ as the Saviour of mankind Who as a Baby found protection in Africa. He says this Saviour had invincible power and divine integrity to fulfill His promise when He said, “I tell you the truth, whosoever hears my word and believes in Him Who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned, He has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)

He has quoted the following servants of God as having affirmed the truthfulness of eternal life:

1. “In hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2)

2. “Let us hold the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)

3. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18)

4. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4

5. “Blessed is the man that trusts in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

6. “These things I have I written to you that believe on the name of the son of God: that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1John 5:13)    END

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