JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — South African nationalist Japtha Masemola, who served a 27-year jail sentence along with Nelson R. Mandela, died Tuesday in a car crash just six months after being freed, family members said today.
Masemola, a founder member of the militant black Pan-Africanist Congress, died from internal injuries suffered in an accident near Pretoria.
"We just couldn't believe it--to die after getting freed after 27 years in prison," said Dorah Maodi, one of his three sisters.
Masemola, South Africa's second longest-serving political prisoner after Mandela, was responsible for setting up the military wing of the PAC after it was outlawed in 1960. Three years later he was arrested and given a life term for blowing up power lines and sending young blacks out of South Africa for military training.
He was jailed on the notorious Robben Island prison off Cape Town with other nationalists, including Mandela, a leader of the PAC's rival African National Congress
Last October, Masemola was freed along with seven ANC leaders under President Frederik W. de Klerk's reform program.