President of PEBCO, member of the UDF, one of the ‘Pebco Three’
Lives of Courage
Qaqawuli Godolozi was born in Durban 26 of July 1955 to Mbuyiselo Godolozi and Nobubele Jafta. His family relocated to Peddie in the Eastern Cape where he grew up and spent his teenage life. He received his primary education at Hotten Higher Primary School where he passed his standard six and then proceeded to Healdtown Boarding School where he matriculated.
Thereafter he came to Port Elizabeth and began working at a construction company as a clerk. He then joined the Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation (PEBCO). PEBCO was an affiliate of the United Democratic Front (UDF). PEBCO established the East Cape Coordinating Committee which was part of the UDF.
Godolozi was elected President of PEBCO in 1980. He, together with Sipho Hashe and Champion Galela, played a prominent role in organising and coordinating resistance activities such as consumer and bus boycotts, stay aways and protest marches. These activities were so effective that they forced the Port Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce to negotiate with the PEBCO. The activities of Godolozi and his comrades led to his continued harassment by the security police.
On the 8 May 1985 he received a call to fetch an overseas ambassador at the then Hendrik Vervoed Airport, in Port Elizabeth, which turned out to be a police trap set up by the security police. Godolozi, Sipho Hashe and Champion Galela known as the ‘PEBCO Three’ were kidnapped and taken to Fort Chalmers, an abandoned police post near Cradock in the Eastern Cape. There they were tortured, drugged, shot and their bodies burned on a diesel-soaked pyre. Some of their remains were dumped in the nearby Fish River.
After the collapse of apartheid, during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process in 1997 Herman Barend du Plessis, Johannes Martin van Zyl, Gideon Nieuwoudt and Gerhardus Johannes Lotz applied for amnesty for murder of the ‘PEBCO Three’. The former security policemen claimed that the three leaders were killed because they posed a danger to the state through their involvement in the underground operation of the ANC in Port Elizabeth.
Twenty three years after their death, some their remains were discovered in Post Chalmers Farm in Cradock and excavated by the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) missing person’s task team. The remains of Gololozi and his comrades were finally buried at Zwide Cemetery in Port Elizabeth.
• Truth And Reconciliation Commission, (1996), Human Rights Violations, , Elisabeth Hashe, Case: EC0003/96 - East London. [online], Available at http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/hrvtrans/hrvel1/hashe.htm [Accessed on 26 August 2011]