Phillip Kgosana’s death
(12th October 1936 – 19th
Reverend Simon & Letta gave birth to a handsome Phillip Ata Kgosana on the 12th October 1936 in Makapanstad, Pretoria. The young Kgosana was a second child.
Cde Kgosana was born and bred in Makapanstad. He attended Nchaupe II Secondary School and later he was admitted to Lady Selbourne High School in 1954 together with his lovely brother Samuel.
Cde Kgosana had big brains as he excelled at Lady Selbourne High School where he shared class with the famous Thomas Madumo, Professor Stephen Serudu and Dr. Abraham Nkomo.
Cde Kgosana’s earliest political awareness was awakened by the changes he observed taking place during his first year at Lady Selbourne High school with the introduction of Bantu education. This came in the form of the removal of the school’s famous principal, Mr. S.P. Kwakwa. This was followed by the decision of excellent teachers like Mr. Nathaniel Masemola, his history teacher to consider leaving the teaching profession.
During this time, under the mentorship teachers such as Mr. Masemola, Bob Leshoai and Prince Vilakazi, besides excelling at school, he was increasingly becoming politically influenced by the anti-bantu education activities of the Transvaal African Teacher’s Association led by amongst others literary guru Eskia Mphahlele and Zeph Mothopeng. Although the PAC had not been formed in 1958, he left to pursue studies in Economics at the reputable University of Cape Town (UCT) after securing a loan-scholarship from the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR).
As one of four African students at the UCT, Cde Kgosana was forced to stay in Langa Township. It was here that he was to meet Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe the founding-President of the PAC. After listening to Cde Sobukwe delivering a speech in Langa, he took the decision to join the Langa branch of the PAC which had just been formed in April of 1959. This revolutionary decision was to have a dramatic impact for the rest of his life.
He attended the very first PAC Founding National Conference held at Orlando, Soweto in December 1959. He returned to Cape Town on January 1960 to seat for his supplementary exams as he failed to write main examinations as he was instead working to implement the resolutions of the PAC Conference. It was during a regional conference where he was elected a Secretary of the Cape Province in 1960.
Inspired by Robert Sobukwe, Philip Kgosana joined the Anti-Pass Campaign of 1960 that launched on the 21st of March 1960. On this day 69 people were killed in Sharpeville in what is today called the Sharpeville/Langa Massacre.
The PAC Cape Chairman, Clarence Makwetu, was arrested a night before the march. This meant that the Cde Kgosana was entrusted with this important task of leading the masses from Langa Township to the parliament to demand the release of the PAC leaders who had been arrested as well as a meeting with Minister of Justice.
On arrival in Cape Town, Kgosana, famously dressed in shorts and a jacket, was met by General Terblanche of the South Africa Police. Unknown to Philip Kgosana, Terblanche was under strict orders to open fire on the crowd, but decided instead to disregard these orders and negotiate with Philip Kgosana to disperse the crowd and return at 5PM for a meeting with the minister of justice.
This meeting never took place and instead, a state of emergency was declared, Philip Kgosana was arrested while PAC and other organisations were banned for about 30 years.
After skipping the country in 1960 while on bail, he received a hero’s welcome in places such as Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, where he was hosted by Mwalimu Nyerere, and then Ethiopia.
He was one of the first PAC cadres to receive military training in China and Ethiopia. Cde Kgosana then worked for the UN’s refugee committee as a programme development officer. He served on various committees while at the UN for 34 years. It was here that his leadership skills were honed. He blossomed as a community activist, organiser and able fundraiser for the worlds oppressed. He received many awards for these efforts.
While stationed in Uganda as the UN representative there, Kgosana was instrumental in working with the Chinese to build a railway line linking Tanzania with Zambia and Uganda.
While awaiting his trial in Pretoria in 1961, Philip Kgosana left occupied Azania where he spent more than 30 years away. It was during this time that he met and married beautiful Alice, a nurse. They married for proudly fifty years until his death. During this time they lived happily in Ethiopia, Zaire, Sri-Lanka, Tanzania and Botswana.
Philip Kgosana was a man of plethora of talents. Trained as a soldier in Ethiopia at the Haile Selassie Military Academy, he went on to complete his Honours degree in Economics and later in his life at the age of 79 completed a degree in Theology. He worked for the United Nations (UN) from 1976 to 1996 and on his return to a liberated South Africa first in 1991 and then finally in 1996, he returned to Winterveldt where he used the skills he had gained, to uplift his fellow, farming community members in Winterveldt north of Pretoria. He also served as a councillor in the City of Tshwane representing Winterveldt.
Philip Kgosana was a committed family man and a dedicated man of God. He was a dedicated member of the Methodist church and was greatly looking forward to being ordained as a Deacon in the Methodist Church in September this year.
He was blessed and survived by his loving wife Alice, his sister Louisa and family, five children, Sauda, Tebogo, Mohlabani, Ata and Patrick, eight grandchildren and members of his loving extended family.
May his great soul rest in
Robala ka Kgotso mo-Afrika,
Rest in peace son of the