Mokgomana: The Life of John Kgoana Nkadimeng 1927-2020 (July 2023, Paperback) Daniel Sher, Peter Delius

When John Kgoana Nkadimeng travelled from Sekhukhuneland to the Witwatersrand in 1944, he was one of thousands of migrants seeking work in town. But his encounters with racial injustice and contact with activists drew him down a very different path, one which was dedicated to the struggle.  Read more below.

Daniel Sher, Peter Delius


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Mokgomana tells the story of Nkadimeng, from his origins in the rural village of Manganeng, in an area with a long history of resistance to colonial rule, through his growing involvement in trade unions, the Communist Party and the ANC. He spearheaded rural opposition to Bantu Authorities, helped take new MK recruits out of the country, and played a crucial role in re-establishing the ANC underground after the state smashed resistance networks. In 1976 he fled South Africa for the perilous terrain of building MK organisations in Swaziland and Mozambique. In 1982 he settled in Lusaka and played a pivotal part in the leadership of the ANC, Communist Party and SACTU during that decisive decade.

Mokgomana represents a new focus on an under-acknowledged leader and offers fresh perspectives on over four decades of struggle history. It is also the story of the family which supported him, enduring harassment and separation, and their own splintered trajectories through exile and homecoming.

About the authors:

Peter Delius is Professor Emeritus in the History Department at Wits University. He has spent most of his adult life researching political systems and struggles in rural South Africa and the nature and impact of migrant labour. Books he has authored and edited of particular relevance to this biography include: The Land Belongs to Us, A Lion Amongst the Cattle, Mpumalanga: History and Heritage and with L. Phillips (eds,) A Long Way Home: Migrant Worker Worlds 1860–2014.

Daniel Sher grew up in Johannesburg and studied history at Wits University. He has worked in education rights advocacy and in 2018 completed an MA in History at Leiden University, The Netherlands. He works on a variety of research projects with Peter, particularly on matters of land restitution.