Thomas Madikwe Manthata was born November 29,1939 in Soekmekaar in the Northern Transvaal.His parents had no formal education.He completed teacher trainiong,taught primary school for three years and made a detour throgh Catholic seminary but was expelled after several years for being too political inclined. In 1967 he began teaching at Sekano Ntoane High School in Soweto,where he became known as a rigorous,critical teacher who encouraged political debates among his students,some of whom,including Cyril Ramaphosa and Amos Masondo,were later politically prominent.

In 1970 and 1973, he facilitated contact between Soweto students and older black consciousness activists who came int the schools as tutors,teachers and speakers.He was a apart time student at the University of South Africa,he joined both the University Christian Movement and the South African Students' Organisation (SASO) between 1972 and 1989,Manthata was involved in in early every organized form of opposition politics in Transvaal, and also spent six years behind bars in a series of detentions and court cases.After 1974 he worked for the South Africa Council Churches (SACC),primarily assisting the families of detainees.He was also a member of the Black  Peoples' Convention (BPC) from 1972,head of the Johannesburg-Pretoria (REESO) branch of SASO in1973,national vice-president of SASOin 1974,and a member of the BPC executive in 1976-77.In 1979 he spoke at the inaugural conference of the Azanian People's Organisation (APO).

In 1980-81,Manthata was a founder member and later became its general secretary.Manthata's personal missions to the Vaal Triangle at the behest of Bishop Desmond Tutu at the outbreak of the 1984 uprising,he became a defendant in the Delmas trial of 1985-89.Although convicted of treason in late 1988,he and all the accused were acquitted on appeal a year later.After 1990 Manthata completed  a master's degree at Coventry University in Britain,was a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,chaired a ministerial committee on care for the elderly,and served on the Human Rights Commission


Gail M. Gerhart, Teresa Barnes, Antony Bugg-Levine, Thomas Karis, Nimrod Mkele .From Protest to Challenge 4-Political Profiles (1882-1990) (last accessed 10 July 2019)

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