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Duke More, the Black Consciousness adherent who traversed the length and breadth of SA fighting for liberation, is no more. He passed away in the early hours of last Sunday after a long illness. Those of us who knew and lived with More during the dark days of pre-1994 SA know that this country has lost a real leader during its hour of need.
From his early days at a teacher training college in KwaZulu-Natal, More never lost an opportunity to stand up against the oppressive regime. Back home in Kwa-Thema, Springs, he continued to raise his voice against the systematic dehumanisation of the country’s majority.
As a member of the Azanian People’s Organisation (Azapo) in Springs, More surely gave the Special Branch members a hard time and sleepless nights.
While the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, the Rev George Wauchope, was called “Mr Azapo” nationally, More was referred to by the Security Branch as “Mr Azapo” of the East Rand.
As a former secretary of the East Rand Region of Azapo, I worked closely with More when he was the chairman of the region. His commitment to the struggle for the emancipation of his people was very clear. He believed in the ability of black people to free themselves from white rule. Once we had adopted resolutions to accomplish, More would work very hard to encourage each one of us to implement them.
His home in Kwa-Thema was always teeming with comrades who came to him for advice on the best way to bring about change. He was always humorous. When he was elected head of the labour secretariat of Azapo in 1983, More performed his duties diligently and this earned him friends among the workers of our country.
When I left for exile in Botswana in 1985, More was languishing in detention without trial at Modderbee Prison. When he finally came out of prison in 1987, he took the option of exile and went to study in the US.
Upon returning home a few years ago, More was always concerned about the majority, whom he said were spectators in a game they should be playing in the land of their birth.As a few well-to-do blacks were leaving the ghettoes for the suburbs he said that was not the change we fought for.
He continued to serve for the achievement of true liberation, but his health condition would not allow him to do so. More is survived by his wife a son, a daughter and a brother, Sunduza.
His funeral service will take place tomorrow at Naledi Community Hall from 8.30am to 11am. The cortege will then leave for Avalon Cemetery in Soweto.
So long Bra Duke.