UMagogo is a woman who owned, ran and managed a house that harboured, sheltered, conscientised and developed members of the ANC, in particular operatives of MK, since the early 1970’s.
This house would later be known as kwaMagogo, which is the title of a book published in 2007, written about the house, uMagogo as well as the activities of the ANC in Swaziland.
The book, “Number 43 Trelawney Park; kwaMagogo” has enjoyed prominence both in South Africa and Swaziland for its human touch and in particular the spirit of uMagogo, which was enjoyed by many. It has been nominated for the Alan Paton Award for 2007.
The house has been described in many ways by many different people. It can aptly be described as, “A home away from home; Haven; Fortress; Intelligence repository; key meeting point; A battleground for many; as well as A playground for both Swazi and South African police – for over 40 years!”.
UMagogo was born Rebecca Makgomo Kekana (married Masilela), but would later in her life be known simply as uMagogo, a title bestowed to her by people showing respect and admiration for the motherly position she held amongst South Africans exiled in Swaziland. Even her children switched to referring to her as uMagogo, as opposed to uMama. Because of her abundant love and care for people in general, as well as her passion for the liberation movement. Many comrades and friends have always seen her as their mother as well.
UMakgomo met with Solomon Buthongo Masilela, popularly known as “Thongo”, soon after the Second World War in 1945, when uButhongo returned from the warfront. Both uMakgomo and uButhongo attended the Lutheran church in Kekanastaad, where they met and started courting. They courted for close to five years and finally got married in 1951.