Elias Monare

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Biographical information


Banished person

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Elias Monare, from ‘Dube Street 1935, Wattville Natives Town, Benoni’ in the Transvaal [now Gauteng], was banished on 25 April 1955  at the age of 31 to ‘Glen Red [Glen Road]’ in the Vryburg district [Northern Cape, now North West Province]. According to the documentation related to his banishment, Monare was suspected of instigating arson and robbery, but charges were dropped due to insufficient witnesses.

He had started the Wattville Helping Hand Association in 1954 and served as its president.  At its meetings, Monare was accused of encouraging opposition to the increase of rent by the local municipality, urging people to boycott municipal services including bus services and beer halls and threatening those who did not abide with his calls.

He was heard at meetings of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) promoting opposition to the Bantu Education Act; he had initiated an association, ‘Leihlo la Motse’ (Eye of the City), and on 20 March 1955 had warned teachers and schoolchildren to stay away from schools otherwise they would be burnt down.

On 12 April 1955, he went to several schools in Benoni and prevented children from entering or exiting their schools. It was alleged that he wielded influence over local tsotsis, and with them threatened teachers, employees of the local advisory committee and other ‘law-abiding Natives.’ It was stated that the call for Monare’s banishment and that of other ‘agitators,’ had emanated from the Benoni local authorities and ‘certain peace-loving and law-abiding Natives’ from the Witwatersrand area.

Following his banishment, Monare was not prohibited from moving around in the Vryburg district. After settling in the Vryburg town location, he was accused of ‘misusing his freedom’ by agitating against the state and gaining a following.

On 13 August 1956, he disappeared and it was believed that he was trying to escape to the Gold Coast. Two months later, he was arrested on the grounds that he was not allowed to leave the Vryburg area without the approval of the Secretary of the NAD [Native Affairs Department].

 A new banishment order was imposed which restricted his freedom of movement and confined him to the farm ‘Glen Red [Glen Road].’

Monare’s banishment order was only withdrawn on 7 December 1967.  In the meantime, he had fled into exile to Basutoland [now Lesotho].

• 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 : 24-May-2016

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