'Valuable, long-overdue' biography on the 'godfather' of the June 1976 uprisings

'Parcel of Death' uses extensive and exclusive interviews to highlight significant influences and periods in Onkgopotse Abram Tiro’s life

13 August 2019 - 12:28
Onkgopotse Abram Tiro was the author's paternal uncle.
Onkgopotse Abram Tiro was the author's paternal uncle.
Image: Picador

Parcel of Death recounts the little-told life story of Onkgopotse Abram Tiro, the first South African freedom fighter the apartheid regime pursued beyond the country’s borders to assassinate with a parcel bomb.

On April 29 1972, Tiro made one of the most consequential revolutionary addresses in South African history. Dubbed the Turfloop Testimony, Tiro’s anti-apartheid speech saw him and many of his fellow student activists expelled, igniting a series of strikes in tertiary institutions across the country.

By the time he went into exile in Botswana, Tiro was president of the Southern African Student Movement (Sasm), permanent organiser of the South African Student Organisation (Saso) and a leading black consciousness proponent, hailed by many as the "godfather" of the June 1976 uprisings.

Parcel of Death uses extensive and exclusive interviews to highlight significant influences and periods in Tiro’s life, including the lessons learned from his rural upbringing in Dinokana, Zeerust, the time he spent working on a manganese mine, his role as a teacher and the impact of his faith in shaping his outlook. It is a compelling portrait of Tiro’s story and its lasting significance in South Africa’s history.

‘A biography of Onkgopotse Tiro, who was at once a catalyst and an active change agent in the South African struggle for freedom, is long overdue. For generations to come, this book will be a source of valuable information and inspiration.’
– MOSIBUDI MANGENA

GAONGALELWE TIRO is a communication professional, who lives in Pretoria. He has extensive journalism experience, including stints with international wire agency Reuters; internet news service News24; Tribute magazine; and newspapers Business Day, the Sunday Times, City Press, Sunday World, Business Report and The Star. Tiro was born and raised in Temba, near Hammanskraal. Onkgopotse Abram Tiro was his (paternal) uncle.

  • Article provided by Picador Africa, an imprint of Pan Macmillan

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