South African Council of Churches General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana has described struggle stalwart Tom Manthata as the epitome of integrity and dedication.
Manthata died of COVID-19 related complications at the age of 81 at the One Military Hospital outside Pretoria on Friday night.
He is most prominently remembered as one of the United Democratic Front leaders that were convicted in the long-running 1985 Delmas Treason Trial together with Mosiuoa Lekota, Reverend Frank Chikane and Popo Molefe.
Go well Ntate Tom Manthata. The struggle continues pic.twitter.com/yfzzhyu81h
— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) July 11, 2020
He served as a leader of the South African Student’s Association, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the South African Human Rights Commission.
“His commitment was not partisan. It was about justice. So it did not matter to him whether it was in the BCP, the ANC or in the PAC; his commitment was to justice for all South Africans. I think that is what set him apart from many because a lot of us think that we can only dedicate ourselves according to our tribes. Of course, many will remember him for the trial, but we would like to remember him a lot more as somebody for he was about everybody else finding their place under the sun.”
Tributes continue to pour in for the late struggle veteran.
Manthata was born in November 29, 1939 in Soekmekaar in then Northern Transvaal, now Limpopo.
In 1967, he began teaching at Sekano Ntoane High School in Soweto, where he became known as a rigorous, critical teacher who encouraged political debates among his students, including Cyril Ramaphosa and Amos Masondo.