• Written by  Independent Online
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Sharpeville Six Member Dies

The sudden death of Duma Khumalo (48), a hero and veteran of the struggle came as a shock to his family and many others.

He was a very persuasive and powerful speaker and he cannot be replaced,' one of his family members said. Khumalo passed away recently after he collapsed at an IEC workshop after he was called in to take part in the forthcoming municipal elections.

Khumalo was one of the Sharpeville six who were sentenced to death by hanging in 1984 after they were accused of allegedly stoning the deputy mayor of the then Lekoa area, Jacob Dlamini to death. They maintained they were nowher near the scene of the crime.

Eight people were initially arrested. Two of the accused - Christian Mokubung and Gideon Mokone - were sentenced to eight years imprisonment. The remaining six was to be known as 'the Sharpeville six'.

15 hours before they were to be hanged, under intense pressure, the state granted them a stay of execution. Khumalo served a further four years of a life sentence in prison. After 7 years of incarceration for a crime he did not commit Khumalo was released in 1991 as part of political negotiations. The case was never reopened and to this day his name has not been cleared.

Khumalo later co-wrote and acted in a play called 'He left quietly' based on his life. 'It is impossible to come away from any single conversation with Duma Khumalo without having learned something new about yourself or the world. There always emanates a sense of a man?s worth from him, a dignity and humanity that has survived against unimaginable odds,' commented Yael Farber director of Khumalo's biographical play.

Three of the members of the "Sharpeville six", Khumalo, Oupa Diniso and Don Mokhesi are deceased. Theresa Ramashamola, Reid Mokoena and Mojalefa 'Jaja' Sefatsa are still alive. Khumalo is survived by his two sons, his brother and his partner.

He will be buried on Saturday February 11 from the El-Shaddai Church in Sebokeng at 8:00 and the procession to the graveyard will start at 12:00.

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