File picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA).
File picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA).

Struggle hero Richard Molokoane honoured

By Lesego Makgatho Time of article published Nov 29, 2020

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Pretoria - Speakers and dignitaries paid tribute to anti-apartheid Struggle hero Richard Barney Molokoane during a commemorative ceremony held at Freedom Park Heritage Site and Museum on Saturday.

Molokoane, a freedom fighter famous for the Sasol plant bombing in 1985, was hailed for his contribution to the Struggle.

The ceremony to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the death of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) freedom fighter and special operations commander kicked off at Avalon Cemetery in Soweto where wreaths were laid at his grave.

The second leg of the ceremony took place in Pretoria where his name was engraved on the wall inscribed with the names of freedom fighters.

The crowd sang Struggle songs in honour and memory of Molokoane.

Addressing the crowd that had gathered at Freedom Park Heritage Site and Museum, Molokoane’s brother Pheko said they were honoured as a family that he was being commemorated.

“There couldn’t have been a better venue. Barney’s dream was to change the conditions of black people in South Africa. He was a fighter.

“The economic disparities in the country always propelled him to do more and fight more,” he said.

Molokoane would have turned 63 this year had his life not been cut short. He was born on August 27, 1957 in Tladi, Soweto and joined the ANC in 1976.

He died in 1985, in a battle together with Victor Khayiyana and Vincent Sekete as they were retreating from an Umkhonto we Sizwe operation – where they blew up the Secunda oil refinery – and were on their way to Swaziland.

In 2015, the South African government bestowed Molokoane with the Order of Mendi for Bravery in Gold for his inspiring leadership, exceptional bravery and readiness to risk his life fighting for liberation.

Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thabang Makwetla said the legacy Molokoane has left behind should be respected because MK represented dignity and a bigger fight for the betterment of South Africans.

“I’m proud of his role as a fighter for freedom. Molokoane was scrupulously faithful to the ideals of the ANC and MK. Although he was gifted in many fields, he was always eager to learn through listening and debating,” Makwetla said.

Makwetla said Molokoane was a disciplined soldier – an exceptional commander who ensured the safety and well-being of those under his command.

Sunday Independent

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