Mayatula was born in 1921 in Willowvale in the Transkei,attended Lovedale and was a member of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in the late 1940s. He became a preacher in the Bantu Bethlehem Christian Apostolic Church of Africa,an independent sect that later became an affiliate of the African Independent Churches Association (AICA) ,a body set up with the assistance of the Christian Institute.

In 1972, while studying for a diploma at the Lutheran Theological College in Maphumulo,Natal Mayatula attended an annual meeting of South African Students' Organisation and became an active member.At the founding conference of the BPC in July that year he was elected interim president,encouraging SASO leaders to hope,unrealistically as it turned out ,that he could spread black consciousness to a mass audience through the country's hundreds of independent churches. Mayatula became p[resident of AICA,but others in the organisation took little interest in politics.

Mayatula earned the nickname Castro by delivering powerful speeches calling for revolution and liberation.In 1974-75 he was detained without charge for 13 months for refusing to testify for the state in the trial of the SASO Nine (State v.Cooper).At the time of the 1976 Soweto uprising he was a member of the Transvaal regional staff of the Christian Institute,and a founding member of the Soweto Committee of Ten.He was detained again in October 1977 crackdown on black consciousness organizations. He died of a stroke in Soweto in September 1980.Mourners marched from his large funeral at Regina Mundi to the Avalon Cemetery behind the banners of the ANC and the Azanian People's Organisation (AZAPO).


Gail M. Gerhart, Teresa Barnes, Antony Bugg-Levine, Thomas Karis, Nimrod Mkele .From Protest to Challenge 4-Political Profiles (1882-1990)

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