It is with deep grief and sadness that the Forum received the news of the passing of its first and current General Secretary, Tshepo “The Saint” Matoko. Tshepo joined the Forum in its early days around 2014 and became a cornerstone of the Forum. Tshepo “The Saint” Matoko is no longer with us on the journey of life and our marathon struggle. Tshepo passed away on Friday, 19 June 2020.
The organisation sends its condolences to the family of Matoko, to friends, to activists that worked with him in many movements, and to the Forum family. Tshepo “The Saint” Matoko became the first General Secretary of the Forum in 2017 and was serving his second term when he passed away. The passing of umkhonto weForum comes as a huge shock to all the members and still is to this day hard to digest. Tshepo has left a void that can never be filled.
He was the voice of the voiceless, the hardest worker in the room, and a warm and gentle personality accompanied his signature smile. The organisation he served and helped to build has lost a warrior and a passionate individual whose presence was inspirational. We have lost a brother, a friend and mentor who determined to bring change for the working class. As a leader of an organisation that is overwhelmingly female, Tshepo was a committed feminist and worked with female comrades with respect and as equals. In a country in which patriarchy runs through working class organisations, female comrades always felt safe in his presence, and valued the way he respected and worked with them.
To Tshepo we say, “Your work has inspired us to be better individuals, you have carried the torch to point us the direction, you will forever be immortalised in our hearts.”
“The heart of stone that glows with a smile, the point of the spear of the Forum.”