Moichopari was born on 25th August 1945 in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, and was the eldest of 15 children. His parents were the late Presiding Elder, Reverend Albert Nimrod Tsieco Segwai, and Mrs Tsetsana Mabel Segwai. In 1972 he married Maria Galetshwane Maaroganye, who he had met at school as a teenager in Botswana. He was blessed with two sons: Kabelo and Tuelo.
Moichopari first attended Wilberforce College in Evaton, then in 1960 left for Botswana to finish his education at Moeng College. In 1964 during his final year of study, he left Moeng and went into exile – spending time in both Zambia and Tanzania – as a member of the Pan African Congress of Azania (PAC). Passing through the Suez Canal, he travelled to England by boat, and arrived in November of 1964. He sat his final Matric exams just one week later.
Upon receiving his ‘A’ Levels from Watford Grammar School, he went on to train as a Pathology Lab Technician at St George’s Hospital in Tooting and Hyde Park Corner. Once qualified, he took a position at the University College of London’s Institute of Child Health, and later worked at Guys Hospital’s Dental Hygiene Department. He also briefly worked for the Minority Rights Group – an international human rights organisation, founded with the objective of working to secure rights for ethnic, national, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples around the world.
In 1970 he represented Black South Africans at the United Nations Youth Conference. Addressing the political struggle of young black people the world over was the primary driving force of his life; he collaborated with organisations such as the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL), the Eritrean Revolutionary Democratic Front (ERDF), and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in pursuit of that goal.
In 1978 he and Molefe Pheto formed the Pula Arts Kommune. This disseminated the message of the black South African struggle through lectures, poetry, and music, with a strong focus on traditional drumming techniques. They toured Britain, Germany, France and Belgium, spreading the Black Consciousness ideology as they went.
They were both of them founding members of the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania (BCMA), which was formed in 1980, and unified all of the previously separated strands of the international exile community.
In 1990 Moichopari moved from London to Manchester. There he worked as a Lecturer in African and Middle Eastern Studies at the Manchester Black Access College. Many of his students gained diplomas in social work and youth care, with some going on to obtain university degrees. In 1999 he took early retirement and returned to London to be closer to his family.
He passed away on an auspicious day – 16th June, now referred to as “Youth Day” – the anniversary of a day when hundreds of young black South Africans were murdered in cold blood, for protesting against an education system that had sought to further marginalise them and their culture.
He was a father, a politician, a poet, a writer, a teacher, and above all else; a Pan Africanist.
He is survived by his wife, his two sons, 7 brothers and 3 sisters.
Robala Sentle namane ya Tholo
Morakile, Senatla Seganka, Kgakgapa – Morolong