Struggle stalwart worked to uplift his community
DURBAN - Respected and renowned businessman, and political activist, Themba Majozi will be remembered for his dedication and commitment to the struggle for liberation and economic freedom.
The Lamontville entrepreneur, formally joined the ranks of the ANC in 1981, after the unbanning of activist and anti-poverty campaigner, Msizi Dube.
Out of his own pocket, and together with his mother, Majozi formed a burial association in Lamontville which was a cover for underground anti-Apartheid activities.
Before this, Majozi was a passive sponsor of the liberation movement.
Under the mentorship and leadership of Dube, Majozi learnt the value of wider political alliances and direct mass action. He remained in the indefatigable pursuit of justice for the oppressed people of South Africa, during which time, he was closely involved with the UDF.
He also worked closely with Dube in establishing the Joint Residents Association that included residents from Lamontville and Chesterville.
Majozi assisted Dube in leading a rent boycott campaign called Asinamali, that spread throughout the country.
After the assassination of Msizi Dube, Majozi became more active in the movement playing a significant role, used his business connections in Jorac Logistics work and was an integral part of the launch of both the COSATU and UDF.
Majozi was then recruited into the Butterfly machinery during which time both himself and his mother, uMam’Mtshali, gave up their house in Umgababa, so that, it could be turned into the Head Office of Butterfly machinery.
“A sacrifice not many would make, but they did it for the struggle and the liberation for all. He (Majozi) was a resilient soldier, indeed, who feared nothing and was always driven by his purpose in life,” says Sibusiso Mathebula, a long time friend and comrade of Majozi.
Later on, after he left his regular job, Majozi established a business facility in Umgababa Station that housed a bottle store and supermarket businesses which were covers for underground ANC activities. More than 3000 people were trained in the Umgababa base under the auspices of Sihle Ndlanzi (Mbongwa).
Majozi and his wife Nomgqibelo were very conscious of the risk they had taken with the use of their home and businesses for undercover operations. They hosted many freedom fighters during their training after the bombing of the Sanlam Shopping Centre in Amanzimtoti, in the then Natal (now, KwaZulu Natal) South Coast, on December 23, 1985, that killed five people and injured 40 others, as part of an Umkhonto WeSizwe, the ANC’s military wing’s operation to dislodge the apartheid government.
Majozi and his wife were both arrested after this and humiliated by the Special Security Branch, and their business premises were burned and closed down during the Inkatha- UDF intermittent conflict.
Majozi was kept in solitary confinement for a long time. He refused to cooperate with the Special Branch, and was consequently humiliated, severely.
Majozi was a man who was unafraid of speaking up for the exploited and oppressed people of his community in Lamontville and South Africa as a whole but was “soft spoken and remained in the background and not interested in the limelight,” says ANC Provincial Spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela.
“He is one of a rare breed of ANC activists who fully understood that the success of the national liberation struggle depended on their movement’s full commitment to the course of freedom, which places the interests of the broad masses of the poorest of the poor in our country at the core of its programmes of action,” he said.
Majozi is counted among Lamomntville’s most distinguished and respected leaders who laid down their lives for fellow freedom fighters and represented the people of Lamontville and many other townships with distinction.
He is also among many struggle leaders worked very closely with communities at large to create mass-based campaigning that focused on matters such as housing, rents, bus fares, education and other urban services.
When he was released from prison, he had no income and his businesses had collapsed but, he remained committed to the ANC, even after its unbanning in 1990. He continued to be active, especially in its underground operations.
“The story of the struggle of Natal cannot be complete without mentioning the role he played together with his family, particularly his mother and his wife, right up to the last days. He was always concerned about the ANC,” says Mathebula.
Majozi is therefore remembered as a selfless businessman who mentored countless young businessmen and entrepreneurs in the media and advertising industry.
He is lauded by colleagues and clients alike as being at the forefront of establishing the first and one of the biggest black-owned advertising agencies in South Africa, Clout Media.
Billboards especially in rural parts of KZN became commonplace, especially in rural parts of KZN, as a result of his work through his company.
“He was very selfless, kind and humble. When you came across him, you would never think that this is a man who had made it in life. He was a grounded family man who always strived to progress and achieve more in life, and was respected by many,” says close colleague and friend, Zanele Cele.