Reflections on re-working the biography of Zeph Mothopeng (1913-1990): Wednesday 4 March

You are cordially invited to the next History Workshop seminar.

Reflections on re-working the biography of Zepth Mothopeng (1913-1990)By Ali Khangela Hlongwane


Uncle Zeph first grabbed my attention in the 1980s when I was a young member of the Azanian National Youth Unity (AZANYU), an internal youth front of the then banned Pan Africanist Congress of Azania. I first began to think about the meaning of his life as I prepared for a talk titled Profile of a life lived solely for struggle, which I delivered at one of the organisation’s rallies. A few years later I enrolled for a Master of Arts degree at the University of the Witwatersrand and wrote a thesis on the life of Uncle Zeph. After completing my studies I continued to delve deeply into Uncle Zeph’s activism. The life of Uncle Zeph – already an elderly radical activist during my youthful days – provides a vehicle to grapple with the past in the present to better understand the challenges and hurdles of contemporary struggles. In this talk, I will reflecton my journey re-working the biography of Zepth Mothopeng.

Ali Khangela Hlongwane is a researcher in the History Workshop at the University of the Witwatersrand and a 2019 Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) Writing Fellow, University of Cape Town. He has published on the public histories of the 1976 uprisings: Soweto ’76 Reflections on the liberation struggles:  commemorating the 30th anniversary of June 16, 1976 (Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust 2006); The Road to Democracy in South Africa, Volume 7: Soweto Uprisings-New Perspectives, Commemoration and Memorialisation, 2017. His recent publication co-authored with Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu is Public History and Culture in South Africa: Memorialisation and Liberation Heritage Sites in Johannesburg and the Township Space (palgrave macmillan 2019).  His biography of PAC veteran leader, Zephania Lekoame Mothopeng will be published by Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust in 2020.


Event Date and Time: Wednesday, 4 March 2020, 13h15-14h15

Location: Seminar Room 209, Second Floor, Robert Sobukwe Block, East Campus, Wits University