Dr Motsoko Pheko

Dr Motsoko Pheko


Dr. Motsoko Pheko

March 21 – Day Of Destiny – Many Want To know It. Others Want It Unknown

March 21 is Day of Destiny soaked with blood of African martyrs for true liberation. On that world-shaking day, the African people of Azania (South Africa) led by the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC); through the Sharpeville Uprising sent an unprecedented anti-colonial message to the world and to the colonial oppressors themselves. That message changed South African politics and the thinking of the world drastically, dramatically and irreversibly.

March 21st is the revolutionary day through which the PAC influenced the United Nations to declare March 21st International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This is the day on which the Pan Africanist Congress laid the foundation for the expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations. It is through the PAC revolutionary action on March 21st 1960 that this day was named Sharpeville Day. This is the day the whole of Africa and the whole world recognised as the symbol of the African liberation struggle and incomparable watershed.

                             What Sparked Off The PAC Anti-Pass Campaign?

Africans in South Africa could not move in their own country without producing a pass whenever and wherever the police stopped them and demanded it. For failing to produce a pass Africans in their own land; were imprisoned or sent out as convicted criminals to work on the farms of colonial settlers.

On these farms they were badly beaten up and ill-treated. Scores of farms were full of skeletons of Africans who had been beaten to death. The farmers wanted production. Any African who was “slow” was beaten to death to force him to be productive. The pass law was a mark of slavery.

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President of the Republic of Uganda

Africa is the origin of man, four and a half million years ago. All human beings only lived in Africa until about 100,000 years ago.  The last ice-age ended 11,700 years ago.  Before that, people could not live in many parts of the North of our Globe.  Therefore, the European Stock (Europeans, Americans, Canadians, Australians), the Asians, the Arabs etc., are all former Africans.

They lost the melanin (the black pigmentation in the skin) in their skins on account of their living in the cold climates, with little sunshine, where melanin is not required.

Africa is the pioneer of civilization. The Egyptian civilization which started around 5200 years ago, around 3000 BC, is one of the earliest civilizations of the human race.

The three great religions of the modern world were succored by Africa in one way or another.  These are Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Baby Jesus was hidden in Egypt when King Herod started killing all the infants.  This is found in the Book of Matthew 2:13-14 in the Bible.  Before that, in the year 1567BC, the Jews had been saved from starvation when one of the children of Jacob, Joseph, who had been sold into slavery by his brothers, took them into Egypt where there was plenty.  This is found in the Book of Genesis Chapter 42 verses 1-10, in the Bible.

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President Yoweri K. Museveni of Uganda has delivered an interesting paper at the 32nd Summit of the African Union Heads of State. This was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 11 February 2019. Its title is Principles For Change: Africa’s Economic And Political Integration. It must be widely read, especially by the youth of Africa. It is attached hereto or posted.

For my part I am reminding that Museveni’s paper shows that the vision of two prominent Pan Africanists, namely Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe refuses to die despite all kinds of excuses and sabotage.

From their graves in Accra and in Graaf-Reinet respectively; these two Pan Africanist giants and visionaries seem to be defiantly speaking of this liberatory, redemptive and necessary vision. This vision refuses to die. That is the vision of a United States of Africa, integrated politically and economically. These Pan Africanist giants paid the price for this vision. Nkrumah suffered an imperialist quo d’etat while Sobukwe suffered an endless imprisonment in Robben Island and suspected premature death through poisoning by the South African apartheid colonial regime. On this vision, let me use the words of these African leaders directly.

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Dr. Motsoko Pheko

Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe died on 27th February 1978.Forty one years after his death, history shows that he was an outstanding revolutionary pace setter. Frantz Fanon the renowned author of a book called THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH has observed and profoundly stated that “Each generation in its relative nebulosity must discover its mission, and then fulfil it or betray it.”

 Sobukwe, a university lecturer at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg; discovered his mission and then fulfilled it. He never betrayed his mission for his colonially landdispossessed people.

His mission became public nationally and internationally when his first political step resulted in the destruction of the enslaving colonial law – the “Dom Pass,” in South Africa. This inhuman law had conditioned the African people to regard their colonisers as demigods.

The Sharpeville Uprising which Sobukwe initiated with his Pan Africanist Congress comrades and led on 21st March 1960 changed the South African politics and the thinking of the world drastically, dramatically and irreversibly.

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Programme Director,

Dr.Mokhehle’s Family, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great honour for me to speak to you at this historic occasion. Let me start by saying that:

1. The past must not be changed, distorted and manipulated. It must be accepted only as it unfolded.

2. Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting off something every day.

3. If you don’t hold on to your dream, others will hire you to help them hold to their own dream.

4. The hardest rock will yield to those who drill it with determination.

5. When you give a man a fish you are feeding him for a day. When you teach him how to fish, you are feeding him for life.

In 1957 “Nonyana” as Dr.Ntsu Mokhehle was popularly called; invited a Pan Africanist brother of his to come here to address the Basutoland African National Congress, later called Mahata ‘Moho – “ The United Ones” in English. This was BCP (Basutoland Congress Party).

This distinguished friend of Dr. Mokhehle was later to be Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe. He became a lecturer at Witwatersrand University in South Africa. This was before he was imprisoned in Robben Island, literally for life since the colonialist regime in South Africa banished him to Kimberly, denying him medical attention until he died there without trial in any court.

This speaker had been a fellow student and friend of his at Fort Hare University. He was later imprisoned on Robben Island. He attracted a special law made for him alone. He died under mysterious circumstances and suspicion of being poisoned by the South African apartheid colonialist regime.

On qualities of leadership, Sobukwe has said:

“True leadership demands complete subjugation of self.

 Absolute honesty, integrity and uprightness of character

Courage and fearlessness

And above all a consuming love for one’s people.”

Dr. Ntsu Mokhehle excellently fits the type of leader described here, beyond reasonable doubt. He was born in a comfortable family. His father, Cicero Mokhehle was not only a headman at Teyateyaneng where “Nonyana” was born on 26 December 1918. Dr. Mokhehle’s father was also a teacher of high calibre and class. He became one of the earliest Mosotho school inspectors in Lesotho. His wife was Mrs ‘Maseeng Mokhehle. They raised up young Ntsu Mokhehle together. Dr. Mokhehle’s wife was ‘Maneo Mokhehle, a nurse by profession. They had two daughters Topollo and Mosonngoa and a son named Ts’iliso.

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Dr. Motsoko Pheko’s Documents in the Documentation Centre for African Studies

Accession 133 University Of South Africa (UNISA) 12th December 2018


A dream that was true   SEM Pheko  1973

The story of a dispossessed people   Ethel Khopung  1972

The significance of Sharpville uprising   David Dube   1982

Mozambique and Azania’s struggle   David Dube  (no date)

The thoughts of Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe    SEM Pheko  (no date)

Books that reveal hidden knowledge and increase your wisdom


List of DVD’s and CD’s containing speeches at the United Nations and in the South African Parliament by Dr SEM Pheko, as well as freedom songs

The Church and political protest     1971

The role of African Christian authors     1971

A tribute to Mangaliso R Sobukwe    12/ 03/ 1978

International law of armed conflict,guerrilla warfare and South Africa        11/ 1989

International law against racism and Apartheid         13/ 11/ 1992

Civilian and military relations in African societies    08/ 02/ 1994

Teacher’s role in the cultivation of the culture of learning    24/ 06/ 1995

Pan Africanism: past, present  and future      15/ 10/ 1995

Yes to “common patriotism” but…     13/ 02/ 1996

This is the PAC track record                          20/ 03/ 1996

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Chair Person,

I salute all Pan Africanist Brothers and Sisters at this historic memorial of the 60th departure of President Kwame Nkrumah from this planet. It is encouraging and inspiring to see that his spirit is still with all Pan Africanists. His vision of Pan Africanism has refused to die. It will never die as long as we have people like you in Africa and in the Diaspora. In fact, the death of Pan Africanism would be the death of Africans wherever they may be. It is important that we have had people like yourselves.

It is worth reminding however, that Africa is a beautiful house that has been burning for some time with its children, women and men trapped inside it. They are desperately trying to come out. As Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe correctly put it in his day, “This Continent [Africa], has had the bad luck to be over-run by [European] soldiers of fortune that had neither [moral] fibre nor humanity.

Slavery played its shameful role in depopulating Africa. Capitalism denuded [Africa] of its wealth. Colonialism deprived Africa of its birthright. Imperialism emasculated Africa of its will to live as human being and enjoy its share of bounties of the earth.”

Africa must be recovered, retrieved, reconstructed and restored to her pre-colonial power and dignity. Africa must not be an imitation of Europe. Prof. Ngungi wa Thiongo of Kenya has written, “Africa does not need charity. Africa needs liberation.” As Prof. Dani Wadala Nabudere of Uganda that well-spoken Pan Africanist academic put it, in his life time, “For Africa to regain her dignity she must recreate her own world view and identity through knowledge.” Continue reading


Motsoko Pheko

What is heritage? Is there any particular thing we need to have in order to claim our heritage effectively and beneficially? My point of view is that in order to claim our heritage we must have knowledge in all sphere of life. In other words we must hunger for epistemology. Epistemology has been described as the process and grounds of knowledge or science of knowledge.

It is therefore quite a challenge to claim our heritage as Africans, especially when we look at the visitation of Africa and Africa’s people by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, colonisation of Africa and the barbarism of racism. These barbaric acts had a dehumanising effect on Africa and her people.

Claiming Our Heritage is therefore very broad covering many spheres of life, one of which is knowledge. Today I can only tease this subject. I will therefore, give only an introduction before we can move fruitfully on our road of claiming our heritage. Elementarily therefore, I will deal with examples here in South Africa.

Claiming Our Heritage is a subject for many lectures and books. It affects us now. But it will affect our children even more in generations to come if we do not deal with it effectively, factually and truthfully now. Let me give my humble contribution to it.

The Khoisan And Other Africans In Azania (South Africa)

From the early days of Jan van Reebieck in 1652, all Africans made it clear that this country belongs to them. It is theirs. When Jan van Reebieck asked why the Khoi people were fighting the European colonial settlers;

a Khoi Ruler replied that the Khoi people saw colonial settlers taking the best lands and grazing their cattle where the Khoi were accustomed to grazing their own cattle; and in a manner that indicated the colonial settlers did not intend to leave the African country. It seemed they wanted to take permanent possession of the African land for themselves. Continue reading



  On 3rd June 2012, a columnist of the City Press Newspaper wrote, “There are many ways of being African in South Africa…this Africanness is accessible to everyone who lives on the continent, whoever you are….It is not intuitively connected to descendants of Inkosi yamaXhosa uSandile or Shaka Zulu, but to Jan van Riebeeck too. This is what former President Thabo Mbeki defined it in his seminal speech, I am an African.”         

I will deal with the “I am an African” by former President Thabo Mbeki later. For now the question is are there many ways of being a British in Britain? Are there many ways of being a Chinese in China? Are the many ways of being a German in Germany or many ways of being a Russian in Russia whose minority dictates to the majority population? How would have the British or Russians reacted if the Nazis entered Britain and Russia declared themselves British or Russian on their Nazi terms, in their own many ways?

The delusion about national identity in South Africa stems from a falsified colonial history. It is exacerbated by the 1955 political manipulation by which a certain section of the leadership of colonised African people abandoned the anti-colonial struggle for a civil rights movement. They claimed that their country belongs equally to the colonisers and the colonised, the dispossessors and the dispossessed owners.

This is tantamount to saying that stolen goods can equally belong to armed thieves and their rightful owners. It is not magnanimity. It is betrayal of the dispossessed.

                                They Want “Africanness” On A Colonial Foundation

Where has this happened anywhere in the world, except where British imperialism seized this African country at gunpoint, consolidated its colonialism through the Union of South Africa Act 1909 and allocated its 349,837 colonial settlers 93% of the country and left five million Africans with 7% through the Native Land Act 1913 and additional 6% through the Native Trust Land Act 1936? This 13% has now been entrenched in section 25(7) of the present Eurocentric constitution misleadingly called “the best democratic constitution in the world.”

For people who are now equal partners to Africanness in their own ways; a British colonial official Earl Glen long made it clear that “The Africans are generally looked upon by Whites as an inferior race whose interests must be systematically disregarded when they come into competition with their own, and should be governed to the advantage of the superior race….For this reason two things must be afforded to white colonists obtaining LAND…the Kaffirs should be made to furnish as large and cheap labour as possible.” Continue reading


A Lecture At Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, 22nd November 2018, Senate House Hall, 2nd Floor –Theo van Wyk Building, University Of South Africa Main Campus, Pretoria
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is an honour for me to speak to you at this important Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute.
Let me start by saying that life must be lived forward. But it can only be understood backward. As that Roman philosopher (Marcus Tillius) Cicero put it many years ago, “To remain ignorant of things before you were born is to remain a child.”
For his part Dr. John Henrik Clarke, an African American professor of history has written, “History is a clock that tells a people their historical time of the day. It is a compass that people use to locate where they have been, where they are now…more importantly where they still must go.”
Indeed, our own Dr. Muziwakhe Anthony Lembede that great philosopher and awakener of the African youth of his generation has written, “One who wants to create a future must not forget the past.”
An African proverb itself long said: “When you fall, do not look where you fell, look where you slipped.” Many people with regard to this country preach the gospel of “Forget the Past.” But where their own issues are involved, they not only remember the past, but they commemorate it. Continue reading