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Hambe Kahle Comrade Fort Calata
SAHA T-shirt archive, photographed for Common, curated by Khanya Mashabela for Common, 6 May–26 July 2023. Image courtesy of A4 Arts Foundation.
Title Hambe Kahle Comrade Fort Calata Date 1985 Type Archival garment
Dimensions 72 x 78 cm


Fort Calata (5 November, 1956 – 27 June, 1985), a South African anti-apartheid activist and the grandson of James Calata, was one of the founding members of the South African Native National Congress.

In 1979, Calata began working at Dimbaza High School in Ciskei where he and other teachers formed a burial society that served as an underground cell. He was arrested in 1980 together with 32 students for his political activities and detained for a month.

In 1983, Calata and Matthew Goniwe became friends and launched the Cradock Youth Association (CRADOYA), with Calata as secretary. Their primary task was to resist unfair rental systems proposed by the Eastern Cape Administration Board.

On 26 June, 1985, Calata addressed a crowd at Lingelihle community hall for a celebration of the Freedom Charter. The following day, Calata, Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto and Sicelo Mhlauli drove to Port Elizabeth to attend a United Democratic Front meeting. Their burnt car and mutilated bodies were found a week later. Goniwe, Calata, Mkhonto and Mhlauli's funeral, held on 20 July, 1985, saw Allan Boesak, Beyers Naudé and Steve Tshwete deliver keynote addresses. A message from the then-president of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, was read.