In a month which South Africans not only celebrate their diverse cultural heritage but their identity as Africans, less has been done to celebrate those who championed and ingrained a black identity.
Proponents of the Black Consciousness movement such as Bantu Biko, Strini Moodley and Onkgopotse Tiro are only celebrated on their death dates by the democratic government.
The government is guilty of celebrating and honouring a selected few liberation fighters.
25 years into democracy, the school curriculum at basic education level in as far as history teaching is concerned is still eurocentric, with a few mentions of a post-democratic history era which tends to favour ANC leaders.
A quick google search about Qunu village in the Eastern Cape will tell you that it is the birthplace of the former President Nelson Mandela.
However, a similar exercise about Dinokana in Zeerust will result in a little mention about the place being the birthplace of the great Onkgopotse Abram Tiro.
It is no secret that Mandela has rightly been celebrated more by the new dispensation than any other liberation fighter.
However, in this well-researched biography titled Parcel of Death, Gaongalelwe Tiro has managed to package the life and legacy of Onkgopotse Abram Tiro in less than 250 pages.
Perusing through the pages, readers will get to know Tiro’s personal background.
His rich family history, his upbringing and the history of his birthplace Dinokana village.
More importantly, readers will get to appreciate the legacy of Tiro, his relentless fight against the old apartheid regime, his call for a free decolonised higher education and his work in the fight to promote black identity amongst the Black Africans.
This book reminds readers that Tiro was a man who was indeed ahead of his time, as some of the issues he addressed in that ‘Turfloop Testimony’ he delivered in 1972 are still very much prevalent in the higher institutions of learning across the country.
This is a book that will encourage and fuel energy to all young people who are refusing to co-exist with poverty, unequal education, landlessness and unemployment in the democratic dispensation.
While the story is about Tiro’s legacy, readers will also appreciate how the scribe not only celebrate Tiro, but also the role played by other unforgotten liberation and Black Consciousness luminaries such as Bokwe Mafuna, Ranwedzi Nengwekhulu and others.
The authenticity of the story been told in this book derives from the fact that the scribe interviewed those who worked closely with the man.
This is a must-read book and especially for the younger generation who continue to be denied the opportunity to learn more about other liberation heroes.
The Basic Education ministry should include this book as part of their prescribed books for history subject in all the public schools.