1934: Three inept murderers (with a fourth to come) 1358: Guillaume Cale, leader of the Jacquerie

1983: Simon Thelle Mogoerane, Jerry Mosololi and Marcus Motaung, anti-apartheid soldiers

June 9th, 2008 Headsman

This date at dawn in 1983, three African National Congress cadres were hanged — together with two unrelated common criminals — for attacks on apartheid-era South African police stations.

“Terrorists” in the eyes of the white government and “freedom fighters” in the eyes of many blacks, the “Moroka Three” — Simon Thelle Mogoerane, Jerry Mosololi and Marcus Motaung — bore arms against as part of the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

Their attacks in 1979 and 1981 had claimed the lives of four (black) policemen.

South African law until 1990 mandated hanging for a murder conviction without any extenuating circumstances — a “fact associated with the crime which serves in the mind of reasonable men to diminish morally, albeit not legally, the degree of the prisoner’s guilt.” The courtroom adjunct to MK’s guerrilla operations was establishing its position that its soldiers were prisoners of war under international law, and that that classification constituted an extenuating circumstance under South African law.

1977 protocols had extended the Geneva Conventions governing treatment of prisoners of war to explicitly cover anti-colonial and anti-racist insurgents. South Africa, unsurprisingly, did not ratify this amendment. The judge dismissed the argument that these protocols had acquired the binding force of customary international law — “we do not need to waste time.”

A decade or so later, in the waning years of apartheid, this sort of argument would find a toehold. But not in a defiantly “anti-terrorist” Pretoria of the early eighties.

The three were hanged in the face of worldwide appeals for clemency — such as this one from U.S. Congressmen and -women, and the pamphlet below by the British Anti-Apartheid Movement:

The entirety of this 24-page pamphlet is available free (at least for the remainder of this month) at the Aluka collection of digital Africa-related documents.

The executions likewise met outcry both domestic (South Africa banned public demonstrations) and international (like this U.N. resolution).

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Cycle of Violence,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Guerrillas,Hanged,History,Martyrs,Mass Executions,Murder,Occupation and Colonialism,Revolutionaries,Soldiers,South Africa,Torture,Treason

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

24 thoughts on “1983: Simon Thelle Mogoerane, Jerry Mosololi and Marcus Motaung, anti-apartheid soldiers”

  1. Peter says:

    Consider if you will, that the victims of these men were Black policemen, not soldiers. Police uphold the law, even if it is unjust, but the murder of Police, and civilians is not justified under any circumstances. These men received a trial and punishment according to the law, what crime had their police victims committed, other than to earn a wage to feed their families.

  2. Mavleis says:

    Long life the spirit of crades who died for the liberation of you and I today. May your soul rest in peace,

  3. Kennedy Mmolotsane says:

    Frank Shandon you an idiot your self. Whether you are rich with man, rich boer man, rich Indian man or rich African man. The depth and length of our graves are the same and you must remember that we are going to die one day. So fuck you many times. I love ANC, it liberated the people of colours in RSA. I vote for ANC till I die. Viva AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS VIVA. Long live the spirit of comrade Thelle Simon Mogoerane, Murcus Motaung,Thabo Mosololi long live.

  4. Linda Mike Ntshingila says:

    The three cdes & many others who paid the ultimate price with their lives,are true patriots & not cowards that are old fashioned racists.Viva the fighting spirit of the Moroka three!!!viva the undying spirit of the G5 unit!!! Their efforts weren’t in vain!!Aluta Continua

    1. Shwabade Elihle says:

      VIVA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Rik Ruiters says:

      The actual political system in South Africa is as corrupt as it can be. The criminality rate is te highest of the world. I live in South-Africa, the country has become the Far West with a very arrogant black population taking revenge, raping, murdering and stealing. The “soldiers” died for a wrong cause.

  5. Zamani says:

    The struggle has to continua, our incomplete democracy is a direct insult to those who died to liberate the masses, economic struggle must be waged in a very same manner the political struggle was waged.

    1. Jack Claxton says:

      Good! Glad that you want to expend some effort! To wage economic struggle can be daunting, and few have the requisite abilities and intelligence. To be successful, you need to
      1. Get educated. (Education is something you do for yourself, it is not something done to you)
      2. Work hard.
      3. Create things.
      4. Delay gratification.
      5. Accept that you are yourself responsible for your condition, rather than the universe.
      6. Develop self-discipline. Lots of it.
      I have many more useful suggestions for you. If you’re interested, just ask.

  6. lawguy says:

    Well, Jack, if you are from South Africa, I would guess that you think of the Boors who fought the English as soldiers. If you are from the United State I would guess that you would think of the confederates as soldiers.

    So the question is what would be the difference do you think? Color, maybe?

    1. Jack Claxton says:

      Well, lawguy, I’m just defending the notion of ‘soldier’, which is of something positive and pure. A soldier will act, often selflessly, to protect his friends, his property, his family, and the institutions created and funded by the society he is part of. And he would do so by focusing his efforts on only those who directly threaten to destroy these things.

      And so – no, colour has nothing to do with it.

  7. TVNX. says:

    My uncle and those who fought for our freedom, my elders that sacrificed their lives for the freedom i have today. Long Live!!! All those who didn’t oppsose Apartheid can go back to the hatred section of hell where they came from.(black or white)

  8. Jack says:

    Please. It is not possible to speak of ‘anti-apartheid soldiers’ without sullying the concept of ‘soldier’ beyond redemption.

    Do refrain from doing so.

  9. ridge mogwerane says:

    fallen heroes indeed these where our grandfathers

  10. Shwabade Elihle says:

    As a young woman, who is today enjoying the freedom fought for by these Heroes, and the likes Kalushi (Khala) Mahlangu, Tsietsi Mashinini the Cradock Four, the Gugulethu Seven and other unsung heroes. I’d like to salute and may their memories be engraved in our hearts, may we never forget the sacrifices they made, laying down their lives for this country to be free. Viva brave sons of the soil, Viva……

  11. Vusi Svungu Dlamini says:

    As a soldier of Umkhonto we Size I feel honoured that the Natalspruit Hospital has been named after this great martyr…Long live the undying spirit of Thelle Mogoerane long live

  12. Motlatjo Seima says:

    The same way we remember Hintsha, Bambatha and Nat Turner, we remember these sons of the soil – fearless patriots. It’s difficult to defy the temptation for vengeance with some of the comments…

  13. One of the G5 Niece says:

    Long Live the spirit of the G5 Long Live! To you Frank they may be idiots but to me they are my heroes. They stood up for what they believe for. I am proud that my uncle fought the fight you couldnt fight for.

  14. Makoko says:

    Snyonyori, the ANC has always expelled those who behaved factionally.

  15. Andile sonyoni says:

    As a soldier of umkhonto wesizwe i feel obligated to comment and raise or air my views about these three comrades, matyrs. I personaly know them, i have seen them in angola though i did not stay with them that long, what i can say is the freedom they have fought and die for is being enjoyed by other peole, their families are living below breadline, today the sacrifice of their lives not even a single member of their families is enjoying. We are witnessing foreign attitudes in the anc of expelling comrades who differ with certain people, that is dictatorship in the true sense of the word, you may differ with a person but to expell that is tantamount to’sabotage.

  16. toffee says:

    shannon is just a heartless fascist ,

  17. Skyhy T.L. Mogwerane says:

    My cousin and the other three comrades were brave soldiers of our liberation. They fought and died for our independence today, of which so many politicians abuse to enrich themselves.

  18. soim says:

    you are an arsehole

  19. Frank Shannon says:

    Three ANC idiots were hanged? Ought to be the case with the rest of the ANC. Bunch of damned Marxists. Let ‘em ALL hang!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Calendar

Archives

Categories

Execution Playing Cards

Exclusively available on this site: our one-of-a-kind custom playing card deck.

Every card features a historical execution from England, France, Germany, or Russia!


Recently Commented