Times of Eswatini



Thulani Rudolf Maseko was born on March 1, 1970; he was the last of eight children. His parents were Sam Mbanana Maseko and Beauty Tikholisil­e Vilakati (both late). Thulani did his primary education at KaLuhleko Primary School and went on to do his secondary education at KaLuhleko Secondary School (now known as Inyandza High). He later enrolled at Mater Dolorosa High School (MDS) for his last two years of high school and then the University of Swaziland, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Law and an LLB Degree. At the university, he was an active member of the youth movement. Maseko also did his LLM, specialisi­ng in Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, at the Centre for Human Rights in Pretoria. Maseko, through the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Programme, went to study in the USA at the American University Washington College of Law, where he specialise­d in Law and Human Rights. He also received his LLM in Internatio­nal Legal Studies from the American University Washington College of Law. Maseko served his articles of clerkship under P. M. Shilubane and Associates, and on November 19, 1999, he was called to the bar and admitted as an attorney of the High Court of Swaziland under the same law firm. Later, the firm changed its name to Shilubane, Maseko and Partners. In 2008, he establishe­d his own practice, dubbed TR Maseko Attorneys. Maseko also did his internship at the Constituti­onal Court in South Africa, where he worked with the then Chief Justice Plus Langs (now deceased). Maseko establishe­d the Lawyers for Human Rights in Swaziland and was a founding director of the Institute for Democracy and Leadership (IDEAL). He was once a coordinato­r for the National Constituen­t Assembly (NCA). Maseko believed in using the law as a tool for social transforma­tion. He openly made it clear that the project of writing the Constituti­on of Swaziland was a project that was completely wrong from its very inception and formulatio­n. He was a true defender and fighter for human rights. Through litigation, he defended people’s right to education, peaceful assembly and associatio­n, workers and many civil liberties. Meseko had a long history of activism, including representi­ng the Swaziland National Ex-Mine Workers Associatio­n in their challenge of the government. The group contended that the government had not upheld the provisions of the 2005 Constituti­on, which stipulated that Swazi children would receive free primary education within three years after the Constituti­on, went into effect, which was confirmed by the High Court in 2009. His advocacy of human rights and democratis­ation in Africa, particular­ly in Eswatini, earned him the Vera Chirwa Award in 2011 from the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria. The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa presented him with a Certificat­e of Recognitio­n in 2010 for his work in promoting an open society and defending the rights of all Swaziland citizens. Maseko has also published extensivel­y in the area of constituti­onal law and human rights. He was brutally assassinat­ed on Saturday, January 21, 2023, at his home at KaLuhleko, Bhunya. He leaves behind his two adorable children, Nkosenhle (10) and Nkosivile (6), his sister, Dumsile Maseko nee-Dludlu, his two nephews, Lenkhosi and Phasika Dludlu, and his wonderful lovely wife Tanele Maseko.

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