Profiles: Bobo Makhoba, 1975-2016, ZACF founder member
Bobo Makhoba of Soweto, South Africa, was a founder member of the Zablaza Anarchist Communist Federation (later, Front), and active in the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee, largest affiliate of the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), a coalition of post-apartheid protest movements in Gauteng. He later moved to Trostkyism.
1 October 2016, by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF)
The ZACF is saddened to learn of the passing away of comrade Bobo Makhoba in Soweto this Thursday 29 September, at the age of 41, after a long illness. He is survived by his son, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences – as we do to the rest of his family, friends and comrades.
Bobo was a founding member of the ZACF as well as one of the original guerilla electricians for the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee’s Operation Khanyisa campaign, which illegally reconnected thousands of households’ electricity after it was cut off for non-payment – forcing Eskom, the state electricity utility, to scrap arrears for thousands of Sowetans.
Born in KwaNongoma in KwaZulu Natal, Bobo first became involved in politics and struggle in high school, where he joined the Pan African Students Organisation.
He became involved in social movements and community struggles when he joined the SECC, soon after it was established in 2000, and later served as the organisation’s organiser and then co-ordinator.
He first came into contact with anarchism in 2002 during the mobilisations around the UN’s World Summit on Sustainable Development and soon thereafter established the Shesha Action Group (SAG). Based in Dlamini, Soweto – where Bobo lived – the SAG ran a study group and community food garden, as well as some of its members being active in the SECC and social movements, and was one of the founding collectives of the ZACF in 2003.
The SAG was unfortunately not very long-lived, its members dispersed and Bobo later moved toward Marxism and joined a small Trotskyite organisation but we maintained mutual respect and comradely relations. Although we saw less of him in later years we were always happy to run into him at demonstrations, where he would still ask to fly our red and black flags, or at Careers Centre in Soweto, where the SECC has its office.
Comrade Bobo Makhoba will be remembered as a dedicated and struggle-hardened working class militant who believed in direct action and grassroots organisation and made important contributions both to the ZACF, notably its model of township organising adopted in the early 2000s, and the struggle of the black working class in South Africa.
We find consolation in the belief that Bobo would not have wanted us to mourn his death, but rather for us to strengthen our resolve in the struggle of the exploited and oppressed majority against capitalism.
For our fallen comrades not a moment of silence – but a lifetime of struggle!