Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe (5 December 1924 – 27 February 1978) was a prominent South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and founding member of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), serving as the first president of the organization.
Sobukwe was regarded as a strong proponent of an Africanist future for South Africa and opposed political collaboration with anyone other than Africans, defining "African" as anyone who lives in and pays his allegiance to Africa and who is prepared to subject himself to the African majority rule. In March 1960, Sobukwe organized and launched a non-violent protest campaign against pass laws, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison on the grounds of incitement. In 1963, the enactment of the "Sobukwe Clause," allowed an indefinite renewal of his prison sentence, and Sobukwe was subsequently relocated to Robben Island for solitary confinement. At the end of his sixth year at Robben Island, he was released and placed under house arrest until his death in 1978.
In September 1977, Sobukwe travelled to Johannesburg where he was diagnosed with lung cancer and then transferred to a hospital in Cape Town. Although the South African government granted Sobukwe access to treatment, they imposed strict conditions on his travel; Sobukwe was required to report to a police station every time he left Kimberley or arrived at the hospital. He died from complications of lung cancer on 27 February 1978 and was buried in Graaf-Reinet on 11 March 1978.