South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

Elias Phakane Moretsele

(1897 - 1961)

By the time he assumed high office in the African National Congress in the 1940s and 1950s, Moretsele was already a veteran of many ANC campaigns. Born in Sekhukhuniland in the Transvaal in 1897, he joined the ANC in 1917 and did much in the ensuing years to strengthen the ties between the ANC and his fellow Bapedi. His café in downtown Johannesburg was a popular meeting place for African politicians.

Moretsele was chosen as provincial treasurer for the Transvaal ANC and later president. In March 1958, at a time when internal disputes and government pressures had brought the Transvaal ANC to a point of serious disorganisation. Moretsele resigned as provincial president. He was re-elected Transvaal treasurer later the same year, however, and remained in office until the banning of the ANC in 1960. Among the final 30 defendants held until the end of the Treason Trial, he died in March 1961, three weeks before the acquittal of all the accused.

This biography is from South African History Online. Used by permission. 
AODL African Studies Center MSU Matrix NEH