Community leader James Sofasonke Mpanza is born


Sofasonke Mpanza

Wednesday, 15 May 1889

James Sofasonke Mpanza (Sofasonke meaning We shall all die), community leader, founder of the Sofasonke Party and a champion for better housing for Johannesburg's Blacks, was born in Georgedale, today part of Cato Ridge. Mpanza was the only member of the Orlando Advisory Board on which the Communist Party was not represented. Mpanza himself had been on both sides of the law: first as a court interpreter in his younger days, and then as a condemned murderer. He was reprieved at the last minute and later released. In his heydays he was regarded as the father of Soweto.



• Verwey, E.J. (ed)(1995). New Dictionary of South African Biography, v.1 , Pretoria: HSRC.

Last updated : 14-May-2015

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011