Bokwe James Mafuna was born in January 14,1937 in Mafikeng.He dropped out of school at 15,was a manual laborer,then spent four years studying for the Catholic priesthood before changing course again.He became a union organizer among metalworkers,but abandoned this in 1968 protest against the discriminatory policies of the Trade Union Council of South Africa. He was also a founder member  in  Media Workers Association of South Africa (Mwasa), the Black Consciousness inspired trade union movement.

In 1969 Mafuna was hired by the Rand Daily Mail to write for its township edition.As journalist he met students from the South African Students' Organisation (SASO) who were beginning to articulate the philosophy of black consciousness,and he soon identified with their cause.In 1971 these was a meeting of the South African Journalists Association,he agitated for a separate,explicitly political organization for black journalists that became the Union of Black Journalists. In July 1972, Mafuna himself made headlines when the Mail rejected SASO's demand that themedia substitute "black" for the traditional term "non-white".He received a thunderous ovation from delegates when,learning of the Mail's refusal,he announced his immediate resignation from the newspaper.

Shezi  was murdered in December 1972 and Mafuna, who was also central Johannesburg chairperson of the Black People's Convention,was banned in March 1973.After three months in jail for breaking his banning order,Mafuna fled to Botswana in mid-1973.Over the next five years he became involve in a controvesial and unsuccessful attempt to set up an armed wing of the black consciousness movement.In 1975-76 his wife,a teacher and the sister of Boy Mvemve, was detained without chane for 14 months. The Mafunas eventually settled in Paris,returning to South Africa in the early 1990s.


City Press (2002) What an ex-exile has to face in SA from City Press online. Available at . Accessed on 14 July 2012|Gail M. Gerhart, Teresa Barnes, Antony Bugg-Levine, Thomas Karis, Nimrod Mkele .From Protest to Challenge 4-Political Profiles (1882-1990) (last accessed 28 May 2019

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