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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Makwetu, Clarence Mlami

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Clarence Makwetu was born on 6 December 1928 in Hoyita, in the Transkei. He was the second of five children. He was educated at Keilands Mission School in the Stutterheim district and matriculated at Lovedale, near Alice in the Eastern Cape.

He was drawn into the political struggle by the 1952 Defiance Campaign organised by the ANC, joining the ANC youth league in 1954. By May 1959 he had become part of the Africanist faction of the ANC, which broke away to become the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC). One of Makwetu's main reasons for supporting the PAC was its commitment to restoring the land to the African people. Makwetu was one of the 6000 men who had gathered to march to the Langa police station on 21 March 1960 as part of the anti-pass campaign.

Makwetu was detained from March to August 1960, and the PAC was banned on 8 April 1960. In 1961 he was arrested in Cape Town, and detained from September 1961 to February 1962. He was arrested again in May, and sent back to the Transkei. There he was arrested again, and sentenced to five years imprisonment on Robben Island. After his release he was restricted to the Transkei for two years until 1970. Makwetu was then detained and released a series of times, and was finally restricted to Libode for five years.

In 1989 the Pan African Movement (PAM) was launched and Makwetu was elected leader. In March 1990, following the unbanning of the PAC, PAM decided to rename their organisation 'PAC internal'; Makwetu was elected president in December 1990. During 1991 Makwetu held talks with the ANC and AZAPO, leading to the October Patriotic Front. The PAC also held talks with Codesa, nearly leading to a split in the PAC.

The PAC declined to sign the Peace Accord in September 1990, and continued with guerrilla activity.

Makwetu was one of the three PAC members in parliament after the 1994 elections. His leadership of the PAC was challenged by Dr Motsoko Pheko at the end of 1994. However, Makwetu retained the presidency, and Pheko was elected his deputy. In 1997, while still serving as party president, Makwetu was expelled from the PAC for bringing the party into disrepute and subsequently lost his position in parliament. He was replaced by Stanley Mogoba as leader of the party.

Makwetu is married with two sons and he lives at Cofimvaba, near Queenstown.

Sources: Gastrow, Shelagh, 1995. Who's Who in South African Politics. No. 5. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.

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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.