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The Life And Times Of Tsietsi (Part 1)

A Portrait of Greatness Beginnings and Antecedents Was Tsietsi born in 1954 as tradition has it, or in 1963 as contemporary scholars maintain? Howard Missy, his most recent biographer, suggests 1954.  The fact is Tsietsi must have increased his age by a few years, either from vanity or to add to his prestige.  It is certain he was born at Zeerust, the son of Sese kaModise and his wife, Cecilia; that from his earliest childhood he showed a leaning towards politics and that, at the age of eight, he was sent with his older brother Tefo to an uncle, to receive political education from a Sharpeville veteran. The two brothers started with John Gumede, an Africanist, who afterwards sent them on to the cell of Reggie Khumalo.  But Tsietsi had little enthusiasm for Khumalo’s “stiff and laboured” style.  He had already singled out the right man for himself: Zacharia Hlatswayo, at whose side he worked …

Wrist

He had impeccable credentials.  Impeccable even though he missed Seattle but that was for meningitis.  He was in the very front ranks at Genoa where he shed blood with a hundred militants and was deported with a bandage still seeping.  In the camps in the forests preparing for Berlin he fashioned an affinity with twenty-four other comrades.  They came up with a non-violent, anti-authoritarian tactic that was Gandhi 2.0.  With arms taped to their sides, they threw their bodies at the police and Black Bloc equally, and received rather bluer bruises from the latter.  In between these excitements he traipsed between squats, lent money to teenage hackers, wrote pamphlets misleading the cops, cooked collectively and had sex unpossessively on all the northern continents. But it was in the South where he really made his name.  His first visit to the camp-sites of Porto Allegre gave rise in him to an indignation at the luminaries that …