Kenneth Mosenyi

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Biographical information

Synopsis:

Banished person.

First name: 
Kenneth
Last name: 
Mosenyi

Kenneth Mosenyi was jailed for a month during the uprising in Bahurutshe. He was involved in the African National Congress (ANC) prior to his return from Johannesburg in 1953 and had connected Kgosi Moiloa to the ANC. Documentation related to his banishment claimed he used this relationship to turn people against the government, convinced women not to apply for pass books and mobilised residents of the ‘black spots’ to refuse to move to the reserve. Because of Mosenyi, and other ‘belhamels’ (ringleaders), the peaceful ‘natives’ started causing mischief, throwing rocks at cars and burning down buildings. Recourse was made to the great wisdom and experience of Lord Harry Balk, that until the ringleaders were removed ‘there can be no peace....’

Mosenyi was banished from Linokana Reserve (Zeerust), Marico District, Transvaal [North West Province]  to the Msinga district in Natal [KwaZulu-Natal] on 27 February 1958. When Helen Joseph visited him in banishment, he told her that while in jail he had told himself, ‘Now that I am arrested for doing nothing, I must do something so as not to be arrested for doing nothing again.’

On his release - no charges were laid – he kept to his word and actively participated in the struggles against apartheid policies. Arrested for a second time, he was assaulted by the police and then offered money to become an informer. He refused. While in banishment, Mosenyi taught himself building and helped people to construct homes. He refused to become bitter or demoralized, saying that he looked upon his banishment ‘as an honour in the struggle of our people.’ He rejected the advice of Native Affairs Department (NAD) officials to request the Minister to release him from banishment. His view was, ‘“I did not bring myself here. If he feels like it let the Native Commissioner send me home. It is not for me to go on my knees to ask for a favour.”’ As a widower who supported his aged father, his banishment meant that his father was not able to remain on the family land but had to move to Orlando [Johannesburg, Gauteng] and live with a married daughter.

Kenneth Mosenyi was given a permit to return home temporarily on 29 December 1964. His order was withdrawn on 30 July 1969.

In 1969, he ‘returned to Dinokana,’ where he found that, those who were pro-state during the 1957-1958 revolt ‘were in the ascendency,’ and that ‘everything (had) just subsided. No one would like to say a word.’ Interviewed in 1983, he recalled that it was said that listening to the activists would result in hardships: ‘Here is Kenneth. He has lost everything trying to follow him, to listen to Congress, we’ll be exactly like him. We’re going to lose everything.’ He also mentioned that the people still”¦called him “Tsotsi Nyenye,” a ‘reference to a well-known tree under which people hatched their plans for resisting.’ 


References:
• 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