Times of Eswatini
OBITUARY OF THE LATE THULANI RUDOLF MASEKO
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.