Kgalabi Jafta Masemola, “The Tiger of Azania”, also popularly known as “Bra Jeff” by many others, was born at Bon Accord near Pretoria on 12 December 1931. He lost both his parents at an early age and was raised by his sister. The family moved to Marabastad and then to Atteridgeville in 1942 where he enrolled at De Jong Primary School and completed standard six in 1947. He proceeded to Hofmeyr Secondary School where he obtained a Junior Certificate in 1950. Then he went to Kilnerton Training Institution (KTI) where he completed his Teacher’s Training Certificate and become a primary school teacher in pretoria's Atteridgevill township.He joined the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in 1958,was a founder member of the Pan African Congress(PAC) the following year and was elected to the Transvaal executive of the new party.After the PAC was banned in 1960,he was in the forefront of effort to organize an armed wing for the movement.
He was arrested in 1963 and tried for sabotage in a group that included Mark Shinners and Dikgang Moseneke.Following three months of interrogation,Masemola was refused access to legal counsel until the day his trial began,he was given a life sentence.Imprisoned on Robben Island,Masemola consistenly agitated through letters and hunger striker for improved conditions and for a review of the sentences of the early PAC prisoners.He completed a bachelor's degree in anthropology,made furniture for his fellow prisoners in the prison workshop,and delighted them with his hobby of crafting wooden figures.In 1958 he rejected P.W Botha's offer of release if he renounced violence,although four other life-serving PAC prisoners accepted.As part of a move to improve South Africa international image,however,Masemola was released unconditionally in October 1989.He immediately involved himself in the internal resuscitation of the PAC,but was killed in a car accident outside Pretoria in April 1990.
The Presidency: Jafta Kgalabi Masemola (1928”“ 1990), [online] Available at www.thepresidency.gov.za Accessed on 19 March 2012.|About.com, African History, Robben Island Prison Museum: Jeff Masemola, [online] Available at www.africanhistory.about.com Accessed on 20 March 2012.|IDAF, (1978), Prisoners of Apartheid: a biographical list of political prisoners and banned persons in South Africa, (London)|Information submitted by Ike Mafole, Chairperson of Tshwane APLA Military Veterans Association and a former member of the PAC National Executive Committee (NEC) and the Central Committee (CC)), via email on 13 March 2012.Gail M. Gerhart, Teresa Barnes, Antony Bugg-Levine, Thomas Karis, Nimrod Mkele .From Protest to Challenge 4-Political Profiles (1882-1990) http://www.jacana.co.za/component/virtuemart/?keyword=from+protest+to+ch... (last accessed 26 July 2019)|