Godfrey Bongani Sithole was born and raised in South Africa. In 1962, he left for Tanganyika (Tanzania) with a group of 27 students including former President, Thabo Mbeki, former Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala Msimang, and the late Ambassador to Vietnam, Sipho Makana.
In 1963, Sithole received a scholarship to study in America at Lincoln University. Due to ill health, he moved to Philadelphia to be near his doctor in 1965. While recuperating, he enrolled at the Levitan School of
Business Training and obtained an Associate Degree in Business Administration. He resumed higher education at St. Joseph’s University and graduated with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. Later, he enrolled at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania and obtained a Post Graduate diploma in Business Administration.
While attending St. Joseph’s University, Sithole worked at First Pennsylvania Bank as a clerk in the Corporate Trust Department and later as an accountant. After two years, he left for Fidelity Bank and became a tax accountant. Fidelity Bank went through mergers, first as First Fidelity, then First Union, Wachovia, and now Wells Fargo. He worked for the bank as a tax officer for 27 years and then retired.
In 1962, Sithole joined the African National Congress. Prior to that, he was a member of the African Students’ Association working with the ANC. After joining the ANC in 1962, he left South Africa. He was arrested in
Rustenburg and released. The second time he was arrested, he was in Southern Rhodesia. He was detained and deported, yet did not reach
South Africa. Sithole stayed in Botswana and was then airlifted to Tanzania in November of 1962. He received a scholarship to study in the USA, but did not leave until May 1963. Before he immigrated, Sithole became the treasurer of the ANC students. He attended an American school in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. In the USA, he became a spokesperson for the ANC, first at Lincoln University, and then in the
Philadelphia area. Sithole worked on divestment and sanctions against the Apartheid regime. He co-founded the Coalition for a Free South Africa and Namibia (CAFSAN). In 1987, Sithole helped form Friends of SOMAFCO, which he is now an advisor of. He became the Chairperson for the ANC Branch in Philadelphia and the Vice Chairperson of the ANC Branch in the USA.
In 1993, Sithole became the Chairperson of Philadelphia’s “Welcome Nelson Mandela” initiative (when Mandela came to Philadelphia to receive the Liberty Award). In 1993, he became a board member of the Mandela Freedom Fund. Also, since 1990, Sithole was the Chairperson of the Philadelphia Area Anti-Apartheid Committee. He had the pleasure of welcoming important ANC leaders to Philadelphia – President Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, Tata and Mama Sisulu, Mama Luthuli, Mrs, Tambo, Thabo Mbeki, Ambassador Sonn, Consul General Sheila Sisulu, Sipho Makana, Barbara Masekela, and Welile Nhlapo.
Sithole received a Certificate of Appreciation from the United States Department of Agriculture, a Citation from the City Council of Philadelphia, a Certificate of Appreciation from the African Cultural Alliance of North America (ACANA), and a Certificate of Appreciation from FRIENDS OF SOMAFCO (Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College).
Sithole is married and has a daughter.