Vincent “Toivo” Tshabalala
Vincent Tshabalala is characterised by those who knew him as a conscientious, self-sacrificing, dedicated patriot who was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for the noble cause and the ideals of an egalitarian society.
Vincent was a determined combatant who fought the apartheid regime and sacrificed his life for freedom. He was born on 15 August 1964 in Bethal, Mpumalanga. He was an extraordinary young man who at the tender age of 13 understood the hardships of black South Africans, and decided to join the struggle after being inspired by the Bethal Trial in 1977.
He became the chairperson of COSAS while schooling at Minerva high school in Alexandra and thereafter became one founding members – together with Paul Mashatile and others – of Alexandra Youth Congress (AYCO). Vincent had passion for education and was a dedicated learner. His favourite sport was karate and he was active in poetry and drama both at school and in the camps in Angola.
He joined the ANC underground and left for exile in 1983 where he joined Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1983. He returned to South Africa in 1984. Vincent died heroically in a battle against the apartheid police on the 9th February 1985 at the age of 20.