Moki Cekisani 2015

Executive President at the Ubuntu and Environmental Foundation Moki Cekisani is a born activist and scholar of the Black Consciousness Movement.

A previous winner of The Herald Citizen of the Year Award in the Environmental Category, the father of six is actively involved in Community Development projects in Walmer Township where he lives.

Moki was first politically awoken by the freedom acquired by African states such as Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, and was inspired by Pan-Africanist leaders such as Jomo Kenyata, Ndabaningi Sithole and Robert Mugabe. When he was 20 years old he joined the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) and became prominent in the anti-apartheid movement as one of the leaders of the Black Consciousness Movement where he got most of his political knowledge? with leaders such as Robert Sobukwe and Kwame Nkruma having a lasting effect on his political thinking.

He subscribes to the vision of liberating the oppressed people and creating a non-racial society, which is what attracted him to the struggle and the Black Consciousness Movement in particular. He believes that Africa belongs to all who are a part of it, we are all Africans irrespective of skin colour.

Moki was first detained in 1963 for four months under the State of Emergency and was thereafter detained in August of 1967, and remembers his final detention of 1977 by the arrest and death of Steve Biko as well as the brutal torture he suffered which led to him partially losing his hearing. He was finally banned and put under house arrest in 1979, his banning order was the last to be lifted with that of Beyers Naudé in 1986.

After his house arrests and detention, he went on to establish Zamani Sewing Industries in Port Elizabeth and Umtata. In 1989 he initiated the Foundation for Sport in Africa which combined his love of sports and desire to advance the struggle for equality by utilising the skills of professional athletes to train previously disadvantaged athletes.

A year later, the Ubuntu Environmental Project was started. Inspired by FW de Klerk's speech in February announcing the unbanning of all political organisations, Moki wanted to contribute to South Africa's freedom in a non-political and inclusive way. He saw that working for the environment was the answer.

For the difference he has made to society through social & environmental organisations and community development projects, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is honoured to present Moki Jacob Bonisile Cekisani with the Council Prestige Award.