Residents of Mamphela section (named after a former struggle hero) of Lenyenye township where surprised last week Tuesday to see politicians and an SABC News camera crew rocking their homes pleading for votes from members of the community. It was during a visit to the township by the Azanian People’s  Organisation (AZAPO) president, Strike Thokoane, as part of electioneering for the May 8th elections.

The programme of the day started in the CBD where the party leader accompanied by volunteers of the organisation, gathered before they addressing the hawkers - many of whom were happy to be beamed over the television cameras. Thereafter the entourage started entering the homesteads which were mostly occupied by pensioners.

Addressing the media after the home visits, Thokoane said that AZAPO cared for the people and that the party stood for hope and change. “We had realised that many people had lost hope and our organisation stands for that.”

Mamphele Ramphele, after whom the area is named, is the former leader of the party and wife of the founder of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), Steve Biko. During the Apartheid regime, she was exiled to Lenyenye.

Though Mamphela formed her own organisation, Agang, she had left a house in the township which was donated to the community to eradicate poverty and unemployment in the area. The house and the Community Based Centre has now been turned into a crèche. Last year during the Mandela Day celebrations, the SPCA in Tzaneen visited the area and donated goodies to the kids.

Other than the big political players such as the DA, the EFF and the ANC, other smaller parties such as the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Congress of the People had joined the fray in urging community members to lend their hand during the upcoming elections.


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