Job Maseko

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Job Maseko
File:Job Masego00.jpg
Died 7 March 1952
Springs, Gauteng, South Africa
Allegiance South Africa
Service/branch Native Military Corps
Rank Lance Corporal
Unit South African 2nd Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II

Job Maseko or Job Masego MM (died 1952) was a South African soldier during World War II, serving in the Native Military Corps[1] (NMC).

Maseko worked as a delivery man in the South African town of Springs[2] before volunteering for service in the Native Military Corps. After completing his basic training, he was sent to North Africa with the South African 2nd Infantry Division.

He became a prisoner of war on 21 June 1942 when Major-General Hendrik Balthazar Klopper, surrendered to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel at Tobruk with 32,000 men, including 10,722 South Africans of the 2nd Division (of which 1,200 were Native Military Corps members).

While a prisoner, he constructed a bomb, using a milk tin, cordite and a fuse and, with the help of fellow prisoners Andrew Mohudi, Sam Police and Koos Williams, managed to hide the device on a German cargo boat at the docks of Tobruk. The boat was destroyed in the explosion later that afternoon.[2] He was later presented with the Military Medal (MM) by Major-General F H Theron.

According to Neville Lewis, the first official South Africa war artist during World War II, Maseko was recommended for a Victoria Cross[citation needed] but, being considered "only an African", he was awarded the Military Medal instead. He attained the rank of lance corporal during his service.

Maseko died in 1952 after being struck by a train[2] and was buried with borrowed money in the Payneville Township Cemetery of Springs.

Military Medal Citation

An extract from his Military Medal citation reads as follows:

The King has been graciously pleased to approve the following award in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Middle East:


No N 4448 L/Cpl Job Masego (sic) - Native Military Corps


For meritorious and courageous action in that on or about the 21st July, while a Prisoner of War, he, Job Masego, sank a fully laden enemy steamer - probably an "F" boat - while moored in Tobruk Harbour.

This he did by placing a small tin filled with gunpowder in among drums of petrol in the hold, leading a fuse therefrom to the hatch and lighting the fuse upon closing the hatch.

In carrying out this deliberately planned action, Job Masego displayed ingenuity, determination and complete disregard of personal safety from punishment by the enemy or from the ensuing explosion which set the vessel alight.

Honours and Recognition

In his honour, the township of KwaThema near Springs has a primary school named after him. The main road linking Springs to KwaThema as well as a South African Navy fast attack craft was also named after him.

In 2007, South African director Vincent Moloi made a documentary about Job Maseko and the South African 2nd Infantry Division called "A Pair of Boots and a Bicycle".

In 1997 the South African Navy renamed the SAS Kobie Coetzee the SAS Job Masego[3]


  1. Mohlamme, JS (June 1995). "SOLDIERS WITHOUT REWARD Africans in South Africa's Wars". SA Military History Journal. 10 (1).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "WW2 veteran Job Masego dies". Retrieved 17 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. List of decommissioned ships of the South African Navy