David Moiloa

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Biographical information


Banished person

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David Moiloa, a flamboyant, amusing orator often at the rear of events, had been imprisoned in Johannesburg during the 1952 Defiance Campaign. He was the brother of Chief Israel Moiloa, with whom he was strongly at odds. According to his banishment order, he and Kenneth Mosenyi were the chief instigators of the disruptions among the Bahurutshe. Israel Moiloa alleged that David Moiloa, one of the leaders and long-standing members of the African National Congress (ANC), was instrumental in villagers not accepting reference books, and had threatened him with death if he did not join the ANC. Indeed, if it were not for David Moiloa ‘they would all still be living in peace.’

David Moiloa admitted to being a member of the ANC but said that he had resigned two years previously. State officials were, however, adamant that he was still actively involved in the ANC, with witnesses stating that he often attended ANC meetings in Johannesburg and that he played a leading role at meetings in Bahurutshe. It was also pointed out that he was a listed communist. Of course, ‘communism’ was defined so widely as to include anyone who opposed apartheid rule.

On 27 February 1958, Moiloa was served with an order banishing him, from Linokana Reserve (Zeerust), Marico District, Transvaal [North West Province]  to the Eshowe district in Natal [now KwaZulu-Natal]. This banishment order was served on him in Johannesburg.

Employed at rare intervals, he received no allowance while in banishment. After receiving a letter from Helen Joseph in 1960, he wrote to her, ‘The government took me away from the Transvaal; since then till now I have never received a letter of this kind. After reading this letter, I feel that I am spiritually free. I could see that you remembered us.’ Yet the truth, in Joseph’s view was that ‘we had not remembered them; we had allowed them to be forgotten for too long already.’ The New Age of 9 March 1961 reported that David Moiloa was summoned to see a magistrate and told that his partner was critically ill with a stroke at Coronation Hospital. He was given a special seven-day pass to visit her. He got there two hours too late, and ‘broke down and wept.’

On her 1962 journey to seek out and visit the banished, Joseph, Amina Cachalia and Joe Morolong did not get to see David Moiloa because they were arrested in Nongoma for being illegally in a reserve.

David Moiloa’s banishment order was withdrawnon 12 November1971.

• Contribution by Professor S. Badat on Banishment, Rhodes University, 2012. From the book, Forgotten People - Political Banishment under Apartheid by Professor S. Badat

Last updated : 19-Dec-2012

This article was produced for South African History Online on 26-Mar-2012