The Makoba’s Council was described as ‘a powerful and dangerous group of tribesmen.’ Alois Mate was considered to be ‘the brains of the Council although he shrewdly refrained from openly associating himself with the movement’. In a letter from the Magistrate at Matatiele to the Chief Magistrate of the Transkeian Territories, dated 18 May 1954, the magistrate at Matatiele, complained that he [Mate] was ‘the writer of insubordinate letters to this office’ and various other offices, including the Native Affairs Department (NAD) Secretary ‘and the Minister.’

Several requests were made for his banishment but none were granted for lack of evidence. Mate informed the authorities ‘in May 1946 of their intention in October to “erect our kraals in the old Makoba Location.” On that date, he said, you may again send your constables and kill us once more.”’

In 1947, some members of the community returned to their old Mount Currie location [near Kokstad, Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and began building.  When the police arrived to arrest them for trespassing, (they) found thirteen “natives with a partially completed building. The natives resisted arrest and as a consequence two were killed and one injured.”

With no compromise from the side of the state, Mate wrote in 1950: ‘Is our blood of no spiritual feeling to the Government,”¦there is no government for the orphans and the poor, because he shuts his ear not to hear, his eyes to see, his mouth not to speak to our complaints and requests.’

In 1951, ‘a stock count at the New Makoba’s Location was ordered. As a result of resistance organised by the “Makoba’s Council” the count was called off in order to prevent bloodshed.’ This resistance led to the issuing of ‘summonses to appear in court on charges of holding an unlawful assembly in contravention’ of an 1886 law, but the summonses ‘were ignored by the people on whom they were served.’

Thereafter ‘a detachment of Police”¦proceeded to the location to arrest the defaulting persons. In resisting arrest, firearms were used against the Police, who killed one and injured another native. In spite of the prosecutions that followed these disturbances, the agitation against and the resistance to the Department’s efforts continued.’

Alois Mate was banished on 15 August 1951 from Matatiele District, in the Transkei, Eastern Province [now Eastern Cape] to Nkandla District, Natal [now KwaZulu-Natal]. Other members of the Makoba’s Council ‘were warned by the Magistrate of Matatiele that any further trouble from them”¦might result in their deportation as well.’ Mate’s banishment was reported by the government as having ‘had a most salubrious effect on the Makoba Tribe and their attitude towards the administration.’ The government further claimed that ‘There have been no disturbances of any significance since his departure since which date the Tribesmen have slowly but surely fallen in with the Department’s policy and the conditions imposed on them;’ indeed they had become ‘law abiding citizens.’ However, on the contrary, resistance continued into the 1950s.

Mate's order was revoked on 8 April 1964, the reason being that he had settled in Nkandla.


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

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