PEBCO 3 activists murdered by apartheid police to be commemorated in Gqeberha

Qaqawuli Godolozi

Qaqawuli Godolozi Supplied

  • A commemoration of the lives of Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation (PEBCO) leaders Qaqawuli Godolozi, Sipho Hashe and Champion Galela will be held on 27 May. 
  • The PEBCO 3 were kidnapped and tortured to death by apartheid police on a state farm in Cradock on 8 May 1985.
  • Activists said it was important to keep their memories alive. 

An event to commemorate three leaders of the now defunct Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation (PEBCO), who were kidnapped and tortured to death on an apartheid police farm on 8 May 1985, will take place in Gqeberha on 27 May 2022.

PEBCO president Qaqawuli Godolozi, secretary Sipho Hashe and treasurer Champion Galela were kidnapped at Port Elizabeth Airport while waiting to meet an official from the British consulate.

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They were driven more than 300km to the farm where they were tortured to death by apartheid police.

An event to mark the 37th anniversary of the murder of the trio will be held on 27 May at 13:00 at the Holy Spirit Church in Kwazakhele.


Sipho Hashe

Friend of the PEBCO 3 and activist Tango Lamani said it was important to commemorate the three late leaders.

“To keep their memories alive. But most importantly, some of the perpetrators who never requested amnesty and are still alive. Families will decide on the way forward in this regard.”

PEBCO was formed on 10 October 1979 in Port Elizabeth to fight the apartheid government-run municipality after it unreasonably increased rent, transport fares, fuel, and many other services.

The 1980s, a period of heightened mass protests against the apartheid government throughout the country, saw many political leaders, including those belonging to PEBCO, being regularly detained and tortured by apartheid security police for their political activism.

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The Amaqhawe Ethu Foundation, which is representing the families of the PEBCO 3, said because PEBCO was able to organise township-wide mass protests that brought municipality services to a complete halt, it became unpopular with the apartheid government.


Champion Galela

Foundation spokesperson Mzolisi Dyasi said the PEBCO 3 played a crucial role in the fight against the unjust apartheid system and the nation owed them an unpaid debt.

Recalling the days, Dyasi added: “The situation in the black townships was explosive and thousands of people were joining the struggle against apartheid, demanding the release of [Nelson] Mandela from Robben Island, the unbanning of the ANC and freedom from apartheid.”

PEBCO and other anti-apartheid groups even went as far as making black townships no-go areas for the apartheid police and army.