Post 1976 when the apartheid regime took even more repressive measures in the bid to contain the volatile situation, many youth who were in defiance of the imposition of Afrikaans on an already inferior education curriculum, began to move into exile to further their education and others to join the military wings of the exiled political organizations.

Youth who fled South Africa to neighbouring countries such as Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia and Tanzania ended up in Magadu; a military base not far from Mazimbu, Tanzania. This base was used to house youth who had been stationed in Dar Es-Salaam, but due the crowded facilities and the rather unwanted attention they drew in the capital city, plans were made to place these youths elsewhere.

In 1973, negotiations to find land to build another facility to house these young people began and two years later, a piece of land just outside the City of Morogoro was identified. Finally, in 1977, the government of Tanzania donated the piece of land and the foundation of what was going to be the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College was officially laid.

“iMigwenya” (a name accorded to those forced into exile in the 60’s and like the tree they were/are compared to, had weathered many storms and gained layers of wisdom, yet remained rooted to the founding principles of the ANC) and the “Qiniselas” (who had earned the name from a song encouraging spiritual strength and prophesizing a speedy return to South Africa), are counted amongst those who laid the foundation of this historical institution around 1977.

At this particular juncture, Somafco was at the beginning of its embryonic form. The steadily increasing stream of youth into exile necessitated for a better co-ordination for those who had sought to further their education. It also became of strategic value to find means to satisfy these youth in terms of their aspirations in order to keep the ANC as the foremost leader of the revolution. It was also important for the ANC to demonstrate that it was not an organization hell-bent on a violent solution to the national question of Apartheid South Africa.