Theophilus Tshangela was banished from Kwamaleida in the Amadiba Location, Bizana District [Eastern province, now Eastern Cape] to the Frenchdale Native Trust Farm, Mafeking District [Northern Cape, now North-West Province].
Having received information that he was on a death list, he moved his partner and six children to a safe house and then observed his home being burnt down. He noted that, “I was jailed under the emergency regulations and served six months at Pietermaritzburg and 18 at Bizana. After serving these sentences I was brought here [to Frenchdale}.”
Tshangela’s order described him as well-off and an influential “Native” who was strongly opposed to the Chief as well as the Native Affairs Department (NAD0. He allegedly organised attacks on the Chief’s kraal (homestead) and was not afraid of using force or arson to further his aims. He was found guilty of holding and speaking at illegal meetings, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, and was out on bail awaiting the outcome of his appeal at the time of the issuing of his order.
In 1965, on the grounds that Frenchdale needed for people to be removed from the “swartkolle” Doornbult and Vergenoeg in Mafeking district, a new order was issued for banishment to Ewbank Trust farm in the Kuruman District [Northern Cape].
It is not clear whether Tshangela actually left Frenchdale. An article suggests that in 1974,”the lonely man of Frenchdale” was the last banished person at the camp.
His banishment order was withdrawn on 4 July 1972. He refused to return home until certain pre-conditions (rail fare for him and the cattle and horses he had managed to rear, a new home and complete freedom from all restrictions) were met by the Minister.
He observed that:
The Bantu Commissioner at Mafeking says I can go home, but he refuses to pay railage for my stock. When I leave here, I am going to start from scratch and I need all my beasts. The other reason is that I am not prepared to be dumped at the station nearest my home and told I am free. I want them to replace the house that was burnt. “When the Government take me home, they must put me in a house”¦.And finally when I leave this place I will not accept the conditions that the others have accepted in order to get home. I want to be free.”
An unrepentant Tshangela was never to see Bizana again and was never to be “free.” He died at his desolate place of banishment, Frenchdale.
• Contribution by Professor S. Badat, Rhodes University, 2012. From the book, Forgotten People - Political Banishment under Apartheid by Professor S. Badat