Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe was born in a small town of Graff-Reinet in 1924. Robert Sobukwe was one of the members that led the break-away from the ANC to the newly formed PAC where he was elected at the President of the Party apoun the formation of this political party in 1959.This is his story as told by members of the party he once led.
Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe father was labourer and his mother had no formal education. It was in this town that Robert began his education. He later won a scholarship to the Methodist school at Healdtown in the Eastern Cape, and from there he went to Fort Hare, where generations of young Africans were politicised,whereby he joined a branch of the African National Congress (ANC) youth league which had been established at the university.
After his studies at Fort Hare University, he worked as a teacher in Standerton in Mpumalanga (Eastern Transvaal). He later lost his Job when he spoke of the Defiance Campaign in 1952. He later returned to teaching when he became a lecturer of African Languages at the University of Witwatersrand where he began to criticise the ANC for allowing itself to be dominated by ‘liberal – left multi-racialists’. He ardently believed in an ‘Africanist’ future for South African, rejecting the idea of working with whites.
Robert Sobukwe was one of the members that led the break-away from the ANC to the newly formed PAC where he was elected President of the Party upoun the formation of this political party in 1959. As a member of the PAC Sobukwe played a pivotal role in establishing the party as a political powerhouse. Sobukwe also played a major role in the protest campaigns organized by the PAC.
Robert Sobukwe resigned at the Witwatersrand University when he handed himself over to the police for not carrying his pass book as an act of defiance. It was on the 21st of March that Robert Sobukwe made a big impact, he was the key figure in organising the anti pass protest march throughout the country, during the day of this march he together with a number of his followers presented themselves at the Orlando Police station in Soweto for not carrying their pass documentation. Sobukwe was at this time sentenced to three years imprisonment for not carrying his pass as well as political activities. After which he was kept in “preventative detention” on Robben Island for a further six years. Where he was isolated from the other prisoners and lived in a "little house" within the prison walls.The apartheid governement deemed him so dangerous they enacted a law just specificaly engineered for him to keep him detained known as the "Sobukwe clause".
When he was finally released, he was restricted by a banning order that prevented him from playing any active political role. He died in 1978 due to a cancer, as the generation of 1976 were now growing more militant and boostering the APLA and MK forces.