Muntu Myeza

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Biographical information

Synopsis:

President and General Secretary of SASO, Robben Island political prisoner, Secretary General, Publicity Secretary and Projects Coordinator of AZAPO.  

First name: 
Muntu
Last name: 
Myeza
Date of birth: 
03 December 1950
Date of death: 
03 July 1990

Muntu Myeza was born on 3 December 1950 to Jacob and Julia Myeza in Natal where he also did his early education. Myeza attended part of his senior high school education at Orlando West High School before moving back to Natal where he completed his matric at Ohlange High in Inanda.  His hobbies were boxing and soccer. Myeza advanced especially in boxing such that by the time he went for his university education he was the ameuter heavyweight boxing champion for the Transvaal and South Africa.

Upon completion of his matric, Myeza enrolled at the University of Zululand to study for a law degree. While studying he became a founder member of the Black Allied Workers Union (BAWU) in 1972, and he became in student political activities and joined the South African Students Organization (SASO). In July 1973 at the SASO General Council meeting he was elected President. His election came in the aftermath of the banning orders issued by the apartheid government to eight SASO leaders.

Myeza was elected as the General Secretary of SASO in July 1974, and was tasked organising the Viva Frelimo Rallies in support of the Mozambican independence in conjunction with the Black People’s Convention (BPC). The government through the Minister of Police Jimmy Kruger reacted by imposing a nationwide ban on the rallies. In defiance to the ban, on 25 June 1974 Myeza led a crowd of about 10 000 people at the Curries Stadium in Durban. In the evening following the rally, Myeza and several others political activists were arrested and detained by the security police under the infamous Terrorism Act.

In January 1975 Myeza was charged with 12 other SASO/BPC members on charges of seeking to overthrow the state. They were subsequently sentenced in December 1976. Myeza was sentenced to 11 years in prison.  He was sent to Robben Island where served an effective sentence of 6 years. After his release, Myeza joined the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO). He was elected as to serve in the AZAPO Executive in December 1983. He served as the party’s Secretary General, Publicity Secretary and Projects Coordinator. In 1986 his house was petrol bombed, however little damage was done. Myeza was part of the AZAPO Delegation that went to meet Nelson Mandela after his release from prison.

Myeza was renowned for his oratory skills and thus became a guest speaker at the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU)’s Congress. He was also invited to speak at Howard University in the US, however he was denied a passport by the government. He was also actively involved in the community, for instance he served as chairman of the Diepkloof Residents Committee, a trustee of the Steve Biko Foundation, and as a board trustee of the Northern Transvaal Advice Office (NTAO). Myeza was employed as Public Relations Officer at Fedics.

Myeza travelled to Bloemfontein for a meeting for a job appointment. Upon his return, his vehicle veered off the road, collided with a pole and rolled over. His vehicle was discovered the following morning where upon he was rushed to the hospital where he passed away on 3 June 1990. 


References:
• The Freedom Archives, [Online], Available at http://freedomarchives.org/Documents/Finder/DOC53_scans/53.MuntuMyeza.eulogy.pdf  (Accessed 26 January 2016]

Last updated : 08-Nov-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 27-May-2016