Saturday, April 11, 2015


Tanele Maseko, the wife of the human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko, jailed in Swaziland for writing articles critical of the Swazi judiciary, has said she is amazed at the support he has received from the international community.

Maseko was jailed for two years alongside Bheki Makhubu, the editor of the Nation, a small-circulation monthly magazine in Swaziland. Both men were found guilty of contempt of court.

Tanele Maseko wrote on the website of Amnesty International, ‘I greatly appreciate the support of the international community. The fact that I know that there are people who are working on my husband’s case around the clock is really amazing. Thulani calls all these people “angels from humanity”. 

‘He keeps on saying to me, “I don’t care what this system will do, I know I have angels who are supporting me. I know that God has sent these angels to work on my case.” It is an honour – it really humbles us to know that the world is watching, that the world is supporting in any way whatsoever.’

Protests over the jailing came from all over the world. The pair were arrested and jailed on remand in March 2014 and then sentenced to two years prison in July 2014. Maseko was placed in solitary confinement at Big Bend Prison, Lubombo, in March 2015 after a letter he wrote thanking his supporters was widely circulated on the Internet.

Tanele Maseko wrote, ‘Thulani is everything to everyone. Even besides ourselves, he helps out with his family, the extended family, and he even finances a small football club. He goes around the community teaching people about their fundamental rights and the constitution. He does a lot of work for different Swazis around Swaziland. He’s such an amazing man.

‘We have been married for seven years now – seven years and going strong. Before he was arrested, we had a number of plans. His law firm was growing well and he was also trying to build up Lawyers for Human Rights, Swaziland, an institution that he co-founded. Thulani was a human rights activist, but I didn’t mind that because I knew he was doing that for all Swazis and sacrificing his family time to help others as well.’

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