Honorary doctorate for 92-year-old Struggle hero
THE contributions and sacrifices of Struggle veteran Tlou Theophilus Cholo were recognised yesterday, with an honorary doctorate conferred on him by the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
The 92-year-old received his award at the institution’s spring graduation ceremony yesterday where scores of students from the faculty of humanities received their qualifications at a graduation ceremony in the Gencor Community Hall on TUT’s Soshanguve South Campus.
But the day belonged to Cholo. The doctorate was conferred on him by TUT chancellor Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, also the MEC for Health in Gauteng.
Cholo was described him as a selfless cadre who gave his lifetime to the Struggle.
Cholo also received the Order of Luthuli in Silver in 2009 for his selfless devotion to the fight against apartheid.
He accepted the award saying he was overwhelmed to have been honoured, but that it had a historical meaning.
“The honorary degree has been conferred upon me and therefore I have to continue to be its living example and this confirms that there is relationship between education and life.”
He encouraged students at the ceremony to never stop studying. “Having Grade 12 only is not enough. Even those students who received their qualifications here today must not stop studying. Education is important in life if you want to succeed,” he said.
Cholo is a man of many firsts; he was the first volunteer cadre of Umkhonto we Sizwe to leave the country for military training. He was an exceptional leader in the trade union movement from Ga-Matlala, Limpopo, demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities and mobilising workers. He was also recognised as one of the founders of Cosatu.
In 1952, he became a card-carrying member of the SACP. Six years later, he was elected as deputy secretary of the ANC in Joburg. He also co-founded the SA Congress of Trade Unions in the 1950s.