Gauteng – It is with a profound sense of loss and deep sadness that we have learnt of the passing of Mr. Dinilesizwe Sobukwe, first born son of struggle stalwarts Robert Mangaliso and Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe. The Steve Biko Foundation extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Sobukwe.
Together with his mother, Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe who passed away in August 2018, Sobukwe was the visionary leader behind the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Trust. Sobukwe worked against all odds to establish the Trust in March 2008 to preserve and spearhead the intellectual legacy of his father. Sobukwe must be commended for steadfastly pursuing the vision of the Sobukwe Trust; he leaves behind an indelible legacy.
Affectionately known as Dini, he emulated his parents’ ideals and values as a grounded community activist, continuing with their legacy of community development in Graaff-Reinet. He was instrumental in creating the recently completed Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Museum and Learning Centre, an eco-friendly museum that interprets the life and times of Robert Sobukwe and foregrounds centuries of liberation struggle in the Graaff-Reinet area.
Sobukwe spent most of his life in exile. His childhood was spent in Lesotho and eSwatini and much of his adulthood was spent in the United States of America (USA) under the guardianship of then US Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young. He studied at Morehouse College, at Michigan State University, and at Howard University where he was the President of the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO), a black consciousness movement organization. During this time, he was actively involved in the liberation struggle.The Steve Biko Foundation worked closely with Mr. Sobukwe and the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Trust on a number of development projects, including the annual Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Memorial Lecture hosted in partnership with the University of Fort Hare.
“I first met with Dini, whom I regarded as an elder brother by the way, on Robben Island. At that time we were both working on research at the archives for exhibitions related to Steve Biko and Robert Sobukwe. I recently visited him earlier this year in Graaff-Reinet to reconnect; little did I know that would be our final meeting. His untimely passing is a great shock, and we extend our condolences to the Sobukwe family”, said Nkosinathi Biko, Founder and Executive Trustee at the Steve Biko Foundation.