Moses Kotane

A Man of the People

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Moses Kotane

Born in 1905 in Western Transvaal, Moses M. Kotane became a very important leader of the anti-Apartheid movement. He was mainly self-taught, and as a young man, Kotane earned positions of leadership in several groups. The Communist Party of South Africa adopted him as a part of their political bureau, he was a member of the ANC, and he was a vice-chairman of the trade union federation. As time progressed, Kotane's roles grew more and more important. He became general secretary of the CPSA and was elected to the ANC national executive committee. Kotane made sure to fight for both of the groups equally and really dedicated his life to supporting the cause of equality both economically and socially. As a leader of these groups, Kotane served on the Atlantic Charter committee to create African Claims and fought tenaciously for equal rights in South Africa. Many, including anti-communist members of the ANC, supported him for his strong leadership skills and exceptional decision making and bravery.


Kotane was not just so important because of the leadership positions that he held, but really because of how he handled the extreme adversity that came his way. The Apartheid government banned him several times, put him through the Treason Trial and a separate trial in 1952, and kept him under house arrest towards the end of his career. Kotane was such a significant member of the anti-Apartheid movement due to the way he fought against these restrictions to make a difference. He spoke to support the Defiance Campaign, defying his bans and getting arrested in the process. He set an example of the militancy he hoped to see the protest movement use. Kotane continued to fight for, encourage, and lead the protest against Apartheid government despite the governments many attempts to censor him.

Moses Kotane gave his life to the struggle - Zuma
At the services remembering Kotane after his death in 1978, South African leaders joined together to remember the man.