A memorial service for struggle veteran Tom Manthata will be held on Wednesday afternoon. It will be streamed live on FaceBook at 2:30pm.

Monthata succumbed to COVID-19 related complications on Friday night at the age of 81.

The African National Congress (ANC) has described him as one of those who belonged to that generation of freedom fighters who were prepared to pay the supreme price in pursuit of the liberation of South Africans.

The Congress of the People (COPE) has also sent its condolences to his friends and family describing the former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Human Human Rights Commissioner as a true and honest freedom fighter.

South African Council of Churches (SACC) General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana has described struggle stalwart as the epitome of integrity and dedication.


Manthata is most prominently remembered as one of the United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders that were convicted in the long-running 1985 Delmas Treason Trial together with Mosiuoa Lekota, Reverend Frank Chikane and Popo Molefe.

He served as a leader of the South African Student’s Association, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the South African Human Rights Commission.

He was born on November 29 in 1939 in Soekmekaar in the Northern Transvaal.

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, who included President Cyril Ramaphosa and National Council of Provinces Chairperson, Amos Masondo.

In 1970 and 1973, he facilitated contact between Soweto students and older Black Consciousness activists who came in the schools as tutors, teachers and speakers.

Manthata spent six years in prison during the apartheid regime.