Leonard Tebogo Tume, known as Norman Nkosi, was born on 10 April 1957 in Galeshewe, Kimberly. He attended Barkly Road High School and after he left school in standard 8 (now grade 10), he joined the Railway Police as a constable.
He left his home in November 1976 when he joined the African National Congress (ANC) to become an uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) cadre. He underwent military training in Botswana as part of MK G5 detachment unit whose primary mission was to attack police stations across the country. During this time, he took on the name Norman Nkosi but his fellow MK comrades referred to him as “Communist” due to his dedication to fighting apartheid. Tume also spoke up openly against corruption within the ANC ranks and felt that those involved betrayed the course. He returned to South Africa four years later and operated underground in Johannesburg as part of his unit.
On the day of his murder, the police caught Tume carrying paper bags with machineguns inside. He was shot dead on 13 June 1980 by the apartheid police in Soweto. The police buried him in an unmarked grave which would take his family 35 years to locate. Tume’s niece, Dineo Tume was a former student activist, who spearheaded the search for her uncle. Just like him, she was dedicated to the struggle. Dineo Tume was a founding member of the Galeshewe Student Organisation and Galeshewe Youth Organisation. At the end of apartheid, she made use of all her resources to find her uncle. However, she passed away in 2003 long before her uncle’s remains would be located.
Tume’s family continued Dineo’s search and eventually started working alongside the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). They traced Tume’s remains to Avalon Cemetery in Soweto on 13 March 2015. Two bodies were found in the grave and were sent for forensic testing in Johannesburg. Tume was later positively identified and his remains were returned to his family in July 2015.
On 19 September 2015, a memorial service was held for Tume and his remains were reburied in Kimberly. His grandmother received a medal in commemoration of Tebogo’s bravery and work with MK. The Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works government building was renamed after Tume to celebrate his legacy. The G5-unit which Tume was part of was honoured in 2009 and received the Order of Mendi for acts of bravery and valour (gold). It became one of the first units to receive such recognition.
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Mere, B. (2015). Fallen Hero Honoured. Available online at: www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Local/Express-News/Fallen-hero-honoured-20150922. Accessed [22/02/2020].
Mere, B. (2015). MK Comrade Home. Available online at: www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Local/Express-News/MK-comrade-home-20150728. Accessed [22/02/2020].
SABC Digital News. (2015). Former MK Leonard Tebogo Tume’s remains reburied. Available online: www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9sXMT26wH0. Accessed [22/02/2020]