Cde Ephraim Phumuga Mogale was a South African freedom fighter born in Bingley, near Settlers on 6 February 1955.
Ephraim Phumuga Mogale was the firstborn child of Samuel and Mary Mogale of Uitvlught. He started his primary education at De Hoop Primary School, Settlers in 1966. He completed his primary school in 1972 at Metsanangwana Primary School, Keerom after the family had relocated to Uitvlught.
He then proceeded to Mabake Senior Secondary School (Rathoke) between 1973 and 1975. He was denied his right to sit for the final examination of the then Junior Certificate (Std 8) by the school principal at that time. He then moved to Pretoria where he worked at Deluxe Dry Cleaners in 1977 for three months.
Afterwards, Mogale went to Soweto, where he stayed with Ingwapele Madingoane and developed love for poetry. He spent a greater part of his youth in student and youth struggles against various forms of oppression.
In 1979 he got involved in the formation of the Communist Advancement Movement (CAM), which served as a vehicle to organize the youth. He was a founder member of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS), of which he was elected its President during its inaugural congress in 1979. He became actively involved in various structures such as CONTRALESA and the Civic Movement.
Comrade Eph was recruited in 1979 to join underground structures of Mkhonto We Sizwe (MK) - same year, which was declared 'The Year of the Speaker' by the ANC. This is the year in which there was increased MK activities, which resulted in his arrest in 1979. He was sentenced to eight years (8) years in Robben Island, of which he served five (5). Whilst serving this sentence on the Island, he interacted with various political giants of the congress movement. This deepened and broadened his political maturity and insight and let him graduating as a political commissar of all times.
He was released in 1985 during which he mobilized the masses against the incorporation of Moutse into KwaNdebele and the envisaged Independence of KwaNdebele. He played a critical role in educating the community against tribalism and refocused them towards the National Democratic Struggle.
During this period, he helped in establishing various organizations, which include South African Youth Congress (SAYCO), Detainees Support Committee (DPSC), and United Democratic Front (UDF), Regional structures in the then Eastern Transvaal, Northern Transvaal and PWV. He was also the president of Northern Transvaal Youth Congress.
He also helped in re-establishing and commanding the MK underground structures in the then Northern Transvaal under the Nchabeleng Unit in honour of the late Peter Nchabeleng. He also participated actively with MK units in the then PWV, Eastern Transvaal and the Northern Gauteng.
Cde Ephraim was instructed to leave the country for specialized military training. This was conducted in countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe and later for specialized political and military training in the then Soviet Union. During his training in Zimbabwe, he interacted with both the commander and commissar of MK, the late Cde Joe Modise and Cde Chris Hani on the needs for the creation of infrastructure and support bases for MK units. He mastered various skills of infiltration under the command of Cde Refilwe.
Cde Eph was a disciplined and dedicated cadre within the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM). His commitment and steadfastness earned him the confidence of the collective to the extent that he would be entrusted with sensitive responsibilities. Cde Eph and some Comrades of Nchebeleng unit, including Kgoshi Piet Mathebe were arrested in 1989. Following the unbanning of the ANC and other organizations, release of political prisoners, cessation of all political trials and the resultant amnesty agreement, they were released in 1990. In 1990, after his release from detention, he was appointed sub-regional organizer of the then Southern sub-region of Northern Transvaal. In 1990, he was deployed to the national parliament, where he served in the portfolio committee of education, defence and agriculture.
Cde Eph was a committed and dedicated revolutionary. He was a passionate lover of arts, and culture. He wrote a number of poems and also founded a Women Soccer Team called Detroit in Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga. At the time of his death he was a member of the Provincial legislature in Mpumalanga, where he served as a Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Environment. He was also Chairperson of the South African Communist Party (SACP) in Mpumalanga. In this capacity he serviced in the Central Committee of the SACP and the Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC.
He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Makoena, daughters (Ponko and Lethabo) and son Phuthi, two brothers (Jankey and Lukas), four sisters (Johanna, Namile, Hellen and Geminah) and his Mother, Mary.
- A COMBANTANT FOR LIFE, A PATRIOT TO THE END
- KOLOBE, MOKGONYANA WA MOSHATE,
- PHOROGOHLO MASHISHINYA