Jeremiah Moraka, a counsellor to Makwena Matlala, was banished from his residence in Matlala's Location, Pietersburg District, Transvaal [now Polokwane, Limpopo] on 7 March 1951 to Matatiele* in the Transkei, Eastern Province [now Eastern Cape].

In 1953, his partner, Maphuti Moraka, was also banished. She refused to leave but was forced into a police van. She took a three-year old child into banishment but left the older children with an aunt. It was reported that the aunt struggled to feed and clothe the Moraka children. Another child was born in banishment.

Maphuti Moraka was badly affected by conditions on the trust farm and the sheer loneliness. Five years into her banishment, Moraka returned from a visit to a local chief, Cebe, to find that Maphuti had disappeared with their two children. While Chief Cebe and Moraka’s older son joined the search for Maphuti, there was no response from the police or the Native Commissioner (NC) to Moraka’s pleas for help.

Sometime later, one of the sons discovered Maphuti Moraka in a Pietersburg street; she was mentally ill and could not explain how she got to Pietersburg or indicate the whereabouts of her two children. Her family returned her to Matatiele.  After she was allowed to return home from banishment, her condition partially improved but she never fully recovered. The missing children were never found.

Jeremiah Moraka lived a life in limbo, saying that he could not ‘ever go home without (his) wife and children.’ When Helen Joseph met him on her 1962 journey, she reported that ‘he was gaunt and he showed signs of the sorrow his life, but his manner was calm and dignified”¦he had accustomed himself to being a labourer, and to the enforced stay on the farm. He showed no bitterness”¦’.  His order was revoked on 9 February 1966. 


Contribution by Professor S. Badat on Banishment, Rhodes University, 2012. From the book, Forgotten People - Political Banishment under Apartheid by Professor S. Badat.

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