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Sedupe Josiah Ramokgopa
25 March 1939–12 January 2024

SJRamokgopa 10072024Sedupe Josiah “Rams” Ramokgopa was born in Orlando East, Soweto, and was raised in a family of political activists. As a teenager, he became involved in the activities of the 1952 Defiance Campaign. After matriculating from Orlando High School, he completed his Honours degree in physics at the University of Fort Hare in 1965 and an MSc in theoretical solid-state physics from Unisa in 1968.

Sedupe moved to Swaziland in 1969, where he took up a post as a mathematics teacher at Salesian High School. Here, he became known as Rams. His political family in Swaziland comprised the struggle leadership in exile of the African National Congress and Pan African Congress.
He remained active in the South African Student Organization and the Black Consciousness Movement. He returned to Johannesburg in 1974 to work as a systems engineer for IBM.

After the Soweto uprising of June 1976, Sedupe was active in forming the Soweto Committee of Ten, which drew up a blueprint for governance of Soweto. After several members were detained in terms of the Internal Security Act, Sedupe became executive director of the Black Community Programmes, the umbrella development organization operating under the Black People’s Convention. Following a massive countrywide clampdown in October 1977 that resulted in the banning of 18 organizations and three publications, Sedupe was detained without trial for 384 days at Modderbee Prison under Section 10 of the Internal Security Act. Upon his release, he was banned for five years, restricted to the Magisterial District of Johannesburg, and under constant surveillance by the security police.

He later served as AZAPO Secretary of Education from 1982–1985, executive director of Funda Centre from 1987–1991, and as a policy specialist at the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Sedupe joined Mintek in 1994 as Vice President responsible for Communications, Information Management, and Human Resources.

In 1999, Sedupe was honoured with the Star of South Africa by former President Nelson Mandela. Sedupe was inducted as President of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) in 2002. He also founded a gold mining exploration company that was successfully listed on both the Johannesburg and London Stock Exchanges as Central Rand Gold in 2008.

Sedupe passed peacefully on 12 January 2024, preceded by his wife, Thembi. He is survived by his children Dineo and Tumi, and three grandchildren.

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