Isaac Mogase

ANC Stalwart

Mr Isaac Dank Tlagele Mogase (Ntate Mogase) would be proud of his two

most cherished roles, firstly as a family man and patriarch to his family. And

oftentimes like many of the leaders of the struggle for democracy, he was

compelled to sacrifice his primary role to fulfill with distinction his secondary

role as an ANC Anti-Apartheid Activist. Through this role he wore many hats

including those of Community leader, Activist and Comrade, Councillor, Mayor

and Alderman of COJ, and Parliamentarian. This has all culminated in his

recognition as an outstanding Veteran and Stalwart of the Freedom Struggle.

It is significant to note that the late great Ntate Mogase could not have been

so accomplished in either of these roles without the selfless love, support,

encouragement and strength of his beloved wife Netta.

Ntate Mogase was born on 25 January 1934, the third of eight children of

the late Abel and Deborah Mogase (nee Lebethe). He grew up in Alexander

Township, with frequent visits to his parents’ childhood home in Jericho. In

the 1960s, he moved to Diepkloof Township Soweto with his wife and young

family during the height of the de-densification programmes of Alexandra

Township and the ensuing violent political riots.

In the early 1950s Ntate Mogase met his beloved wife Netta Bushy Maruping

and they were happily wedded in 1963. Theirs is a love story that is an

inspiration and legacy for the family. They were blessed with three sons and

one daughter; Thabo, Mutle, Matshidiso, the late Moitse.

He completed his schooling in Lydenburg, achieving his Junior Certificate

at the top of his class. He worked for Elgin Structures for over 30 years until

1986 when he resigned due to extended and frequent periods of detainment

for his political activities. While at Elgin, he applied his innate leadership and

commitment to the representation of often marginalized work forces, by taking

up leadership roles including that of Shop Stewart.

He was respected by employers and the workforce alike for his ability to establish

progressive working relations between all parties, successfully ensuring that

required compromises were amicably reached.


Ntate Mogase was blessed with outstanding leadership qualities. This enabled

him to take a principled stand and unite people despite their differences, thus

earning him respect and and love by many. He is also well known for his brilliant

mind, quick wit, humour, and his interests across many fields. In addition to

his passion for family and politics, he had interests across sporting disciplines

including boxing, football, tennis and running, as well as an appreciation for

travel, music, films and literature. He was a wellness fanatic who paid close

attention to his diet and maintained regular physical and mental exercise

throughout his life up to the time of his untimely passing. In his later years, he

was filled with much joy and peace by spending time with his wife, together

keeping up with current affairs and playing scrabble, he also took his role

as grandfather to heart ensuring that he generously expressed his love,

encouragement and pride in his grandchildren and children.

In his late teenage years in the 1950s, he joined the ANC youth league in

Alexandra Township, during which time he played a leading role in the Alexandra

Bus Boycott. He served as Founder and Chairperson of the Diepkloof Civic

Association, which was founded in 1979 as the first Civic Association in the

Country after a collision between a Putco bus and a McPhail coal lorry in which

many Diepkloof residents were killed. In keeping with his renowned active

commitment to the resolve of crises in the Diepkloof community, he led relief

efforts for the affected, notably raising much needed funding for the bereaved.

He is remembered with love and gratitude for his selfless efforts in assisting in

the burial of many loved ones and support of the injured in hospital.

Ntate Mogase later served as one of the three co-presidents of the Soweto

Civic Association when it was founded in 1984 alongside the late Dr Nthatho

Montlana and Rev Frank Chikane. The civic organisation was a follow on

from the Diepkloof Civic Association, and went on to “become the center of

opposition against all forms of apartheid, but in particular the township councils

introduced in 1977 by the oppressive regime. It ultimately became instrumental

in the country’s transformation to a democratically elected government”.


In 1985, he was one of the leaders who were instrumental in the establishment

of the Soweto Parent’s Crisis Committee, during the State of Emergency

period. The Committee was tasked with seeking solutions to the educational

crisis that continued to engulf the country since the 1976 Soweto Student

Uprisings against Bantu Education. In the advent of democracy, he went on to

assist in the formation of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

in 1996 to assist students in financial need gain access to tertiary education.

He like many others who paid the high price in the fight for our hard-won democracy,

was “subjected to state harassment and numerous arrests and jail terms by the

apartheid regime”, it is said that “he never wavered nor surrendered in the face of

callous brutality, he remained firm in his convictions and commitment to continue

fighting for freedom”. He is also recognized for his service in assisting “young

people who went underground at a time when it was extremely dangerous, and

his involvement in prisoners committees with various ANC leaders.”

From 1995 to 2000, Ntate Mogase served as the first post-apartheid Mayor

of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council from, a role which he is

said to have fulfilled as “an outstanding servant of the City”. This celebrated

appointment was made in his capacity as one among a niche of distinguished

leaders of the movement, who dedicated their lives to the struggle for freedom

and attainment of peace.

Thereafter in 2004 he served as a Parliamentarian for the ANC, and in

2007 as the party’s Chief Whip in Parliament under former President Thabo

Mbeki’s tenure. Ntate Mogase was later conferred title of Alderman of the City

of Johannesburg, a title bestowed upon Councillors who have served with

distinction in local governance, and now lend their invaluable experience to

the “mentoring and inspiration of encumbent leadership bodies as well as

creating a sense of unity within communities”.


Ntate Mogase was quoted by the President of the Republic of South Africa,

Cyril Ramaphosa, in his closing address at the Zondo Commission on 29 April

2019, as “having ably represented the people of the City of Johannesburg”

and as “an outstanding example of the kind of public representative that the

people of our country seek and deserve”.

He is aptly described as “a doyen and trailblazer of the civic movement and a

veteran of the freedom struggle”, and how profound that he should rise to the

great heavens on the day of the 27th anniversary of our nation’s Freedom Day.

Freedom, a cause to which he so humbly, selflessly, passionately and superbly

dedicated his and his family’s own life and freedoms, for the attainment of a

better life for all.

Words fail to describe a man who so lived his life fully and gallantly, according

to his true intended purpose. What stands out most for us all, his family and the

peoples he served, is his deep and unending love and affection; his integrity

and honour; his capacity to forgive and unite; his generosity and magnanimity;

his charisma and captivating sense of humor; And of significant benefit to all

and country, his inspired and courageous leadership and diligent work ethic.

Ntate Mogase is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Netta Bushy; his three

children, Thabo, Mutle and Matshidiso; daughters in law; Anna, Mendy, and

Baba; son-in law Promise; 9 grandkids: Paballo, Kekeletso, Kamogelo, Pontsho,

Thabang, Lehlohonolo, Lerato, Neo and Nkem; and 3 great grandchildren;

Dulcanna, Amile and Amara. He is also survived by his siblings; Nkile, Shimane,

Maria, Manthime and Mananeng.

“We mourn one who was among the most admired, most beloved, one of the

most extraordinary” of the sons of the African soil. Our sorrow runs beyond the

depth of oceans. We are consoled in the absolute knowledge that you ran your

race fully and with grace, and that your rest is indeed well earned. May your

soul rest in eternal peace.

A true gentle giant among the greatest of giants, we will never forget,

Robala ka kgotso Mokwena, kgosi ya Legasa.




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