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Maqashu Leonard Mdingi (Posthumous)

The Order of Mendi for Bravery in

Maqashu Leonard Mdingi (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the liberation struggle and steadfast belief in the equality of all who lived in South Africa. His conviction spurred him to distant lands to enlist with the anti-apartheid organisations and push back against the tyranny of racism.
Profile of Mr Maqashu Leonard Mdingi

Mr Maqashu Leonard Mdingi was born on 2 February 1926 in Bizana in the Eastern Cape. However, his formative years were spent in KwaZulu-Natal, where he worked as a migrant worker. He later moved to Johannesburg to work in the mines.

It was in Durban that Mdingi joined the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party and the ANC-aligned South African Congress of Trade Unions. He also joined the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe. He recruited President Jacob Zuma into ANC in the 1950s.

Like most political activists at that time, Mdingi was arrested and banished for 15 years to Umlazi near Durban. The cruelty of the security police knew no bounds as they tor tured Mdingi until he suffered severe internal injuries. However, that did not deter Mdingi from his struggle commitments. He managed to travel to Lusaka, Zambia to deliver intelligence information to the ANC exiles. As a trade union organiser, Mdingi was also vocal on the rights of workers.
Together with Anderson Khumani Ganyile, Mdingi led the Kongolo Pondo Resistance Movement.The campaign led to the Pondo Revolt that resulted in the massacre by apartheid forces of the Amampondo at Ingquza Hill in 1960.

In 1982, he set up shop in a back room in Bizana. In 2009, he was still making clothes and living in his workshop in the small industrial estate on the edge of Bizana. He was part of a network of dissidents in the then Transkei. Mdingi passed away in November 2013 at the age of 87.