30th April 2023
The shocking news of the sad and untimely passing of Cde Tiego Moseneke is still
reverberating throughout the length and breadth of the country. Such a loss is deeply felt by
his family, friends, comrades, business colleagues and all South Africans who have been
touched by his actions of compassion, solidarity, and sense of duty to his nation. The SDG
joins the rest of the progressive movements to deep its banner in salute of this gallant son of
the soil and leader of our people.
Tiego belonged to the generation of death-defying Young Lions of OR Tambo of the 1980s.
A period in the history of the liberation struggle that propelled millions of South Africans to
confront the brutal system of apartheid and its repressive apparatus. The accolade of Young
Lions was conferred to the militant youth of our country who dared to face the brutality of the
repressive apartheid military machine with everything in their disposal. From the liberal
campuses, to the repressive Bantustan and bush campuses, in the streets of the townships
and the villages of the rural areas that had been turned into war zones, to the mines, factories
and farms of this country, the youth were at the fore front of a life and death struggle to end
national oppression, the suppression of women’s rights, and the system of super exploitation.
Thousands of youths of this generation also swelled the ranks of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the
People’s Army. Thousands of lives of young and old, made the supreme sacrifice fighting for
the freedom of this country.
Cde Tiego’s ascendance to activism and leadership started at an early age. Buoyed by his
anger after being exposed at the tender age to the arrest and sentencing on Robben Island
of his elder brother and comrade Dikgang Moseneke in 1963 for sabotage, he knew already
that his was never going to be an ordinary life.
When he was a student at the Helbron College, a combined Teachers College and High
School which was situated in the then Bophuthatswana homeland, he showed early
leadership qualities, a sharp intellect and keenness to read and understanding of freedom,
justice, and reconciliation. He led a class revolt against what they perceived as an unjust
treatment of the class by their former teacher a Ms. A Le Roux. The revolt then engulfed
almost the whole school as it became an open revolt against a racist teacher.
Cde Tiego was later to be expelled from this College, an experience which was not unusual
for many student activists during that period and beyond. However, this experience was to
strengthen his resolve to fight injustice wherever it was found in our society.
He went on to be an accomplished student leader at Wits University and rose to become a
national leader of the progressive tertiary student organization AZASO in 1984. During his
days at Wits University, he became the President of the then Black Students Society, an SRC
for black students during those days. As a leader of students at Wits, he not only led black
Chairperson: Billy Ramokgopa, Deputy Chairperson: Amanda Gcabashe, Secretary: Percy Mahlathi,
Deputy Secretary: Ahmed Cachalia, Treasurer: Lisa Seftel
students, but was also the prominent face of anti-apartheid activism, mobilization, and
struggle on campus. As the President of AZASO, he led the militant progressive student
movement in battles in other campuses, as well as to be part of community, worker, and antiapartheid
struggles throughout the country. He was also part of the thousands of community,
religious, labour, and political activists who formed the United Democratic Front (UDF) in
His leadership and activism got noticed by the apartheid security police and led to his
detention under the State of Emergency in 1986.
In the early 1990s, Tiego was one of those in the forefront of re-establishing branches of the
ANC in the then PWV Region. He was to be elected to the first Provincial Executive of the
ANC in the PWV Region which was led by Cde. Tokyo Sexwale. There was no doubt that
Tiego was groomed to be leader of the people, from his early years at Helbron College, at
Wits University and elsewhere in the country. He had the grounding, the political clarity and
leadership qualities that could have propelled him into government.
Like his brother Dikgang, Tiego followed the legal route in his studies at Wits University. He
qualified as an attorney and opened a legal firm Moseneke and Associates with some of his
former student activists who had also graduated in law. Tiego went on to venture into other
areas of business. He founded the ENCHA Group and became its Executive Chairman. He
was also an instrumental figure in the development of successful black businesses and was
roped in many boards of different companies.
During the period following the tumultuous Polokwane National Conference of the ANC in
2007, it became clearer that the decline of the ANC needed to be addressed within and
outside of formal structures of the ANC. Tiego became one of the founding comrades who
established the Strategic Dialogue Group, a collective of former student leaders and activists
of the former AZASO and NUSAS, the forebears of what became SANSCO, and today’s
One of the character traits of Cde Tiego was his openness to new ideas in terms of the
development trajectory of our country. He was not an ideologue and fixated in one position.
It is this trait amongst others that made him approachable in general, and touched so many
across the social, political, and economic spectrum.
Throughout his life, Cde Tiego remained a steadfast activist for social justice, socio-economic
development, and social transformation. In the week that he passed on, he hosted a meeting
of some SDG leaders and activists. This meeting was convened to consult on key issues
affecting the movement; and reflected on the upcoming SDG Retreat.
His always measured and wise counselling and mature approach to difficult issues facing our
movement and country is already being missed. The sun will never set on such a colossal
son of the soil.
Lala Ngoxolo Cde Tiego.