JOHANNESBURG – Pan-Africanist Congress veteran Philip Kgosana has died at the age 81.
He died in a Pretoria hospital on Wednesday following an operation.
Kgosana became a regional leader of the PAC at the age of 23.
He was arrested on the eve of the anti-pass campaign in the 1960s, and the young Kgosana then led over 30,000 protesters to Parliament.
Funeral details are yet to be announced.
ON PHILIP KGOSANA
Philip Ate Kgosana was born in 1936 in Makapanstad in the northern Transvaal, the son of a minister. He graduated from the Lady Selborne High School in Pretoria in 1958 and was awarded a bursary to study commerce at the University of Cape Town. In January 1960, when he became regional secretary of the PAC for the western Cape, he dropped his studies to do full-time political work.
When the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) regional chairman was arrested on the eve of the Anti-pass Campaign in March 1960, 23-year-old Kgosana inherited local leadership of the organisation. His fame skyrocketed when he emerged as the spokesman for 30,000 African demonstrators who marched into the centre of Cape Town on March 30. Police were temporarily paralysed with indecision, and the event has been seen by some as a critical point in South African history.
In return for a promise that leaders would be given an interview with the minister of justice, Kgosana persuaded the crowd to disperse; instead of honouring their promise, police arrested him later the same day. Tried for incitement with other PAC leaders, he fled South Africa while on bail in late 1960 and later resumed his university studies in Ethiopia.