The ANC in the Eastern Cape is mourning the loss of struggle veteran Robert Tlou, who died in Nelson Mandela Bay on Sunday after a short illness.
The ANC provincial executive committee member was 88.
On Monday, ANC provincial spokesperson Gift Ngqondi said Tlou’s political activism started in Sophiatown in 1948 and he had dedicated his life to the fight against apartheid.
He later relocated to Port Elizabeth and was one of the anti-apartheid activists who led the defiance campaign in the city in the late 1950s.”
He said Tlou was arrested in 1960 for his involvement in the bus boycott campaign.
“In 1961 he was charged for arson, public violence and terrorism and later sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
“He was incarcerated at Pollsmoor prison and later transferred to Fort Glamorgan (kwaNongqongqo).”
Ngqondi said Tlou continued his political activism after his release.
He was arrested again in 1977 for allegedly being in possession of illegal documents and was detained for three months at the prison in Makhanda.
“After the uprising of 1976, comrade Tlou became one of the activists who was responsible for facilitating and transporting young and militant youth to join the ANC external mission in countries such as Lesotho and Swaziland [now Eswatini],” Ngqondi said.
He said Tlou was among the activists who hosted the Committee of Ten, led by Dr Nthato Motlana, which worked towards the formation of Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation (Pebco) in 1979.
Tlou served as the ANC branch treasurer in KwaDwesi between 1991 and 1992.
“His commitment to organs of people’s power led to his involvement in school governing bodies, community police forums and he later served at Ekuphumleni Old Age Home, in Zwide, Port Elizabeth.
“As the generation of Tlou passes on, leaving us poorer, the least we can do is to ensure that we do not lose sight of the vision for which they lived.
“Their legacy does not only guide us as we continue to build a non-racial and post-apartheid society but also enables us to persist with the dream of making better the human condition.
“As inheritors of these superior values from past generations, we have the duty to keep in step with this legacy.”
Tlou’s youngest daughter, Mpho Tlou, said a drive-by memorial service would take place on Wednesday between 3pm and 5pm at her late father’s home in Qunza Street, KwaDwesi.
“Our father was fearless, soft-spoken, respectful, deeply loving and loyal.
“We are deeply humbled that the ANC in the Eastern Cape has honoured him in life and in death,” Mpho said.
No date has been set for his funeral service.
By Zipo-zenkosi Ncokazi – HeraldLIVE