Anton Muziwakhe Lembede achieved a BA, LLB and MA in Philosophy through Unisa. In 2013, one of Unisa’s Science Campus buildings was renamed after him.
Lembede was the founding President of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League, formed in 1944 to counteract the “passivity” of the ANC’s older leadership. He was born near Pietermaritzburg on the white-owned farm where his father worked. His mother was a teacher, and she home-schooled him until age 13. On entering formal education, Lembede achieved exceptional results and eventually qualified as a teacher himself. In the 1930s, while stationed in the Orange Free State (and studying through Unisa), he encountered Afrikaner nationalism. Employing his training in philosophy, he espoused a rival modernised African nationalism, which advocated independence from white liberalism and international communism. Lembede’s spirit underpinned the ANC’s new militancy and the formulation of its 1949 Programme of Action. But Lembede did not live to enjoy the movement’s successes of the 1950s (including the Defiance Campaign) – he died in 1947 aged 33.