PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
25 OCTOBER 1996
[PAGES 80 - 236]
1A/0 PROCEEDINGS RESUMED ON 1996/10/25
APPEARANCES AS BEFORE
... it was led by Layton Zulu. We, as new arrivals, who were coming from harassment in Clairwood, we were being harassed by the Black Jacks. We were allocated some cottages in Umlazi, where we could stay. We were harassed in Umlazi by the police or the Municipality Police. They did not want us to live with our relatives as well as our children in those particular cottages. They also chased away my brother's wife as well as my child. At that time she was sick. My child had come because it was during school holidays. Prince Layton came to intervene against the eviction of my relatives, because at the time we believed that the place had been allocated to us and we found ourselves being harassed by the Municipality Police. That did not end there. The harassment continued. They formed a certain organisation. When the government of KwaZulu came into power, we were harassed by the councillors in those particular cottages. We were women and we were being harassed and we were not the only ones who were harassed. Even the Umlazi residents were continually harassed, they were affected by all this that was going on. The Umlazi residents would have their houses locked and widow's houses were being locked and they had to vacate the houses. Then we formed a community gathering, which was led by David Gasa. This is where we started fighting for our rights as the residents and people staying in cottages, because the women were being chased out of their houses because their husbands had died and they lost their rights to remain in the houses. Some were evicted
because they could not afford the rentals. Gasa's organisation led us to be able to stay without being harassed and disable the police from harassing us. Gasa's organisation was liaising with the ANC, because if ideologies and beliefs were emanating from the ANC. Advocate Mxenge was the advisor of that particular organisation. Then Mrs Mxenge's wife also formed a women's organisation, which was called NAWO(?). This is where we were able to join this organisation because it was particularly for women, and Mxenge's wife was killed. But we continued with the organisation, our spirits were not let down by the death of Mrs Mxenge. Then we elected Comrade Nozizwe Madlala. Then she became our leader. Up to the first time that we were able to voice our grievances. But it did not actually end there. After I had moved from the cottages I got my own house. The people still were harassed. This happened after the organisation had been unbanned. It was not only the women who were being harassed or traumatized at that stage, it was also our children, our boys or our sons. I also took part in fighting against the harassment, because of them had run away from their places because of the faction fights and at times they would come and spend a night at my place and leave the following morning. I even had a plan that whoever wanted to join the ANC could leave the country and join the ANC in other countries, and I was working with Attorney Mlaba at that time. That is when my harassment started, because when the comrades were in my - at my place, they depended upon me, up to such an extent that I went around looking for some help from the Durban network, as well as the Women's League, which was
in Daicornia(?). Then they would give us some support, because some other children were coming from areas outside Umlazi and the people in Daicornia, they used to get in touch with me and tell me that there were certain people that they were going to bring to me and I would accept them into my home, because they were being harassed and traumatised. Then the ANC got unbanned, but people are still be harassed. But you must take note of the fact that the women in Umlazi were being harassed, but they didn't know who to turn to, because most of the people are illiterate, they didn't know their rights. And they also didn't know how to evoke these rights, so they were like people in chains. Even now they are not present, they are still harassed because they are still being threatened that if they appear before this commission and talk about whatever is happening, they will be killed. I don't know whether this commission would be able to bring these people forth, so that they can be advised as to how they can come before this commission and give testimony, because they are the ones who had been directly affected. The women who have rights, we do have our leaders whom we believe in, for instance Mrs Gxabashe Nozizwe and so forth.
That is where I will end.
I wish to start by thanking the TRC, the truth and reconciliation commission, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this special hearing on the struggles of the women of this Province of KwaZulu-Natal. I want to thank also the women who taught me what I know and made me what I am. For it was among them that my own understanding was shaped. I experienced their pain and shared their suffering and learnt from them. My entry into active political life started in the 70s as a student, but it was in the 80s through the women's movement that my political understanding was developed. For that I thank the women. It is impossible to tell the story of the struggles of women in Natal in 10 minutes. My task this morning is to give an overview, the context that will lay the foundation for the stories that will be told here today. May I, at this stage, state that as much as I feel honoured to perform this task, I will not be able to do justice to the story in the time that I have. And may I also say that in telling the one half of the story, because history is written by men, history reflects the roles that men have played, women are often forgotten. when history is written. I will not be able to tell the full half, the complete half of that story, because my experience was with women mainly in the United Democratic Front, a supporter of the African National Congress. So, while I know that many women on the other side were victimized and brutalized, unfortunately I am not going to be able to tell their story. I am hoping that they are present here today and they can share their story with us. To begin I will tell a bit of my own story. I was born
here in Natal, on the lower South Coast. I was organizer and chairperson of the Natal Organisation of Women, a political women's organization, that was affiliated to the United Democratic Front. The UDF. Like many women who joined the struggle against apartheid I was harassed by the police and detained a number of times. The longest period of detention is in 1987, when I was held for a year under section 29 and later 28 of the Internal Security Act. Throughout that time I was held in solitary confinement. Some times people ask me if I was tortured during that time. I usually answer in the negative, for my own experience of torture was much milder than that of many others. Although I was often threatened, I was not physically abused. Verbal and mental abuse, yes, lots of it. But I think of myself as one of the lucky ones, because I am alive and can tell the story of those who cannot do so, because they were made to pay the ultimate price, women like: Lindi Zama, Makosi Noga(?), Lindiwe Mthembu, Jabu Ndlovu, Majoy Maxoi(?), Victoria Mxenge, and many others, who were killed for their active opposition to the apartheid regime. I count myself lucky because I did not personally experience the loss of a close relative, even though their loss was my loss, and even today I still mourn Lilani Gxocolo(?), Mgcawe(?) Ezezwe(?). My first child is now 14, grew up before his time. At two years of age he saw his father detained, tried and then sentenced to a prison term of 10 years. Although he has grown up to a gentle young man, at that tender age he had learnt to hate. When I took him to visit his father at Johannesburg maximum security prison, he shocked me one day when he said, "Mama, gawazonda(?)
amaphoyisa". "I hate the police". He said, "I hate them because they locked up my father". He was five years old when I was detained myself and taken away from him. My mother tells me that during that time he used to complain of pain, physical pain, for which there was no physical explanation. I do hope that that pain has now gone. That was the context? Why was all this happening? Women in Natal, like many in other parts of the country, were part of the struggle that had begun many years earlier, against the brutal system of apartheid oppression. As far back as the 50s and 60s women in Natal were actively involved in the struggle. The period that we were looking at from March 1960 to December 1993, ... (inaudible) ... struggles against the pass laws, the curfew, forced removals, low wages, a high cost of living, and poor living conditions. In the burgeoning shantytowns, in the townships, and even on the countryside, women were resisting the oppressive system of apartheid. The period of the 60s was started with a feeling of great bitterness on the part of the oppressed generally and women in particular. They had seen men and women being mowed down for resisting pass laws. In this region they had witnessed two sets of protest, the beer boycott and the struggle against betterment. The betterment schemes and dipping tanks. The 1959 beer boycotts concentrated in the so-called Cato Manor riots in which women were protesting against the monopoly of beer brewing, something they saw as a very important part of their own livelihood in town. Women were beaten, gassed and shot. Many were seriously injured by the police. Also, rural women across the region protested against the government's
policy of betterment. They, as the primary food producers, were particularly affected by this government's initiatives and reacted by such actions as overturning the dipping tanks, protests which lasted into the 1960s. During this time of severe repression a state of emergency was declared and organisations like the ANC, the South African Communist Party, and the PAC were banned. Many women, active in these organisations, and the Natal Indian Congress were detained, burnt, banished and exiled. Some names that come to my mind are: Fatima Meer; Phyllis Naidoo; Pumeni Moodley; Ella Ghandi; Gladys Manzi; Dorothy Nembe; Tryfena Jogweni; Florence Mkhize; and many others. Groups Areas removers in this region had particularly harsh effects on Indian, Coloured and African families. And often women bore the brunt of isolation when families had to move from inner city suburbs, where there was a well established community support structure to new flung, far flung areas. When I was working for the New Readers Project at the University of Natal, I had the University of Natal, I had the opportunity to hear stories of women that were removed from Clairwood as Mama has just said and Encumbane. These women told the story, the painful loss, the story of the painful loss of warm friendships that they had established across the colour line. Natal was the birthplace of the modern labour movement in South Africa. There were some very important women in the trade union movement who suffered great harassment, not only from the State and their bosses, but also from their menfolk for their involvement. Through most of the 1970s Natal was relatively quiet politically. Communities here did not get caught up to any great
extent as in the Soweto uprisings and the main issues for the majority of women were pass law offences and removals. Because of the historical nature of land ownership in Natal, much land remaining or changing into the hands of Africans and Indians, the State's determination to eradicate black spots had devastating effect on very large numbers of communities in the region. Attempts to rebuild the women's movement in the mid-70s under the banner of the Black Women's Federation were quickly squashed by the regime when it banned all black consciousness organisations. It was in the late 1970s that a number of campaigns began around rents, inferior education, food prices, high transport costs, which involved large numbers of women, since it was they as managers of household budgets who had to deal with the steep decline in standards of living. This could be summed up in one of the most popular slogans of the time, "Asinamali". Political turmoil visited the region in 1980 and 1981, the time of the school boycotts, when students at the University of Durban-Westville, as well as scholars in the African, Indian and Coloured townships came out in protest against apartheid education. This campaign ... (inaudible) ... would shape politics in the region until the end of apartheid and beyond. A division between Buthelezi and the KwaZulu Bantu Stan on the one side and the students popular anti-apartheid activists in the mass democratic movement on the other. In 1980 I was kidnapped from the home of Mrs Kubeka, in KwaMashu, where I was staying at the time. Together with her daughter, Sibongile, and about 9 school children. I was physically and verbally abused by our captors. One of the school
children known as Jehovah was brutally assaulted. After detention for the whole night in the community hall in C Section in KwaMashu we were taken to Ulundi and paraded before the KwaZulu Legislature Assembly and branded troublemakers. Luckily at that time the violence that later raced in the region was only just beginning and our lives were spared. The early and mid-80s saw bitter struggles in the townships around Durban, where the communities in Hambanati, Lamontville and Chesterville, were resisting incorporation into the KwaZulu Bantu Stan. Women joined and led the struggles and I recall one of the slogans of that time, which was, "A... (inaudible) ... KwaZulu so... (inaudible) ... lam... (inaudible) ...". Women were at the forefront of these struggles. They were harassed by the police and the army and many were raided in the night and raped. Many were brutalized and forced to flee from their homes. Some women from Hambanati and KwaNdengezi have since not returned to their homes. Those who returned have had to rebuild their homes from scratched, which were razed down. Mrs Kubeka's home was burnt down twice. In 1985, early one morning, in broad daylight, her home was surrounded and torched by armed impis. The police and the army were there, watching all her hard-earned life's investments being destroyed. They did not try to stop the attack on a widow. I was in detention when it happened. The news was broken to me by the security police, who boasted about this evil attack on a woman whose only crime was that she had given birth to children who did not want to stand by and watch while their people were brutalized. Mrs Kubeka was, at that time, not an activist. She was a dedicated member of the
Roman Catholic Church in KwaMashu. She had no particular interest in politics. Her hands were already full anyway with the burden of scratching a living for herself and her children. It was the brutal experience that turned her into one of the strongest and resilient fighters of our movement. She was one of the branch executive members of the Natal Organisation of Women in KwaMashu. Like many women before her, for Mrs Kubeka politics was rammed down her throat by the system. Like Rwada(?) Soni and many others, she had to cope with the brutal experience of seeing her loved ones removed from her. After much police harassment and torture, Mrs Kubeka's children left home, all of them left home, and went into exile. State actions and violence directed at the trade unions intensified in the early 1980s. I have mentioned Jabu Ndlovu, who was murdered in Mbali township, in Pietermaritzburg. Cindy Ngadi, who was then 19 years old, organiser for Garment Workers' Union, was luckier than Jabu. She survived her experience when she was abducted at gunpoint from her home in Lamontville in the middle of the night, in June 1982, by four men claiming to be from the special branch. After driving her to an isolated spot, threatening her with a gun, and questioning her about her trade union activities, they dropped her in the middle of the township, leaving her with the warning that they would visit her again. The divisions between the KwaZulu Bantu Stan and the popular masses was intensified with the formation of the United Democratic Front in 1983 and worsened into an open confront from 1985. The spark then was the assassination of Victoria Mxenge on 2 August 1985, the widow of a prominent ANC
leader, Griffiths Mxenge, who had been murdered four years earlier. Victoria was on the executive of the UDF and enjoyed popular support as a leader in the region. With this assassination a lot of anger was unleashed and a spiral of violence flared in the townships around Durban. ANC and Inkatha supporters were caught up in the most intense violence this country has ever seen. Women were not left out of this as men on both sides became militarized, women became more and more brutalized. They were raped and mutilated. Linda Nzama's badly decomposed body was found near a stream in KwaMashu. Forensic and other tests showed that she had been sexually assaulted and her body mutilated. Her killers were never found and have never been brought to book. There is much evidence that as conflicts intensified youth and especially young girls were targeted. The Inkatha/UDF split affected every community and every form of organization, women, trade unions, youth and so on. How did this affect women? It is well-known that in times of civil strife, the vast majority of displaced people/internal refugees are women and their dependent children. In this region the failure to bring the perpetrators of violence to book resulted in many women being displaced not once, but several times. But, as already illustrated earlier, it would be incorrect to simply see women as victims of violence. The levels of conflict have meant that women have had to face the might of the police and the army and also try and act as mediators and peacemakers while protecting their children and their communities from a war they had not started. The night vigils of the women of Chesterville are well
documented, where women faced the army and the police and challenged the soldiers to arrest or even kill them instead of their children. Women in Mpumulanga, Pietermaritzburg and KwaNdengezi played a key role in the peace process, even though their efforts were not recognised. Majoy Maxoi was in the Mpumulanga peace committee when she was brutally murdered. She was part of the peace initiative of women which brought together women from the two sides of the war in Natal. This initiative led by organisations like "Women for Peaceful Change Now" was nipped at the bud by men who feared that women were coming up and were taking the initiative of ending the war that was devastating the region. White women had joined hands with black women and were supporting their sons who did not want to fight, who did not want to go to the war. These women were brutalized and harassed. They were called traitors, deserters. Women like Anita Kromberg, Marie Odendaal Magwaza, who is here today, who opposed the system and the war, were locked up in prison and verbally and physically abused. Women active in the Black Sash and the End Conscription Campaign and in the students' movement were targeted and harassed. They were thrown into police vans, detained and burnt. This was the extent of the war. It did not leave anyone untouched. Women played a key role in ending the war. We want history to be told and these women honoured for the role they played. Their stories and the story of this country's painful history are intertwined. If history is to be fulfilled, women's contribution to the struggle acknowledged, the democracy we are building must not leave them aside on the margins. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Nozizwe. I think you remind us and we often forget that today, whilst we sit enjoying the fruits of the democracy that a lot of women didn't survive and didn't make it and didn't live to enjoy what we now have. And we need to thank God for every day that we are still alive, but we also need to remember that the struggle of women is not yet over. That legislation is in place which makes it possible for women to do better, but that men often fight against women becoming more powerful, and that we must remember that that struggle still goes on. And we also need to make a special effort to remember the contributions of those women who made it possible for us to see days like today come to fruition. We thank you for setting that in place so that other women may tell their stories today. Thank you for sharing that with us. --- Thank you for giving me the opportunity.
CHAIRMAN: We have been asked to ensure that the witnesses who come from the Free State ... (inaudible) ...
(END OF SIDE A)
1B/0 (START OF SIDE B)
SOPHIA MATSELISO LIPHOKO
... --- Thank you, Lady Chair. I will try and speak to you in Sotho. If I can't, then we will talk in Zulu.
CHAIRMAN: I would like you to introduce yourself before you start. --- I am from the Free State. I am here today because I need to tell my story, what happened to me. In 1986 I was going to shop, it was 7 o'clock in the evening. When I arrived at the shop I met a policeman, he was driving a Hippo. I was taken to hospital because I don't know, I can't recall what actually happened to me. One guy came to my house and told me that David has been shot. David is my son. And I was confused, I didn't know what actually happened. This guy who was driving this car asked me for David's ID. And they told me I must take David and cook him and eat him. And then they told me that they actually wanted to know from me when was I going to bury him, so I told them I don't know. From there, the police who shot my son was Mathuga(?). The magistrate told me Mathuga is not guilty. I will - thank you very much, Ma'am.
I will like you to clarify some few facts to me. When you were relating the story, it is like - this thing happened in 1986. Was your son involved in politics? --- I was shot on the 2nd of May 1986, he was shot on the 9th, same year.
You said you were - he was a politician. Did you have a membership of any organisation, or did he have a
membership card of any organisation, political organisation? --- No. I don't know. On the 9th in the morning he left home, he said he was going to work. At about 12 o'clock one guy came and told me that my son has been shot.
When you were told that your son has been shot, and when you were preparing for his funeral, people were coming to your house and they were relating lot of things and police were coming to your house. What was it? --- Reverend Mogaphani(?) was the one who was talking at the funeral.
The way the police talked to you, were there things which they said which were - which they were supposed to say to you? --- All I can tell you is that it was so sad when they told me I should cook my son and eat him.
Thank you very much. I would like Yasmine Sooka to give others a chance to ask you questions.
UNIDENTIFIED COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Madam Chair. I would like us to go back to where you were shot in your house. What happened to you, where did you go for help? --- I needed transport and I couldn't find the transport to go to hospital, but eventually I went to hospital.
What's the name of the hospital? --- Wedumele(?) Hospital.
Do you still remember the doctors who saw you? --- No, but I still have a card.
Another thing I would like you to clarify is, you said they shot your house using a rubber bullet. Do you know who did that, whether police or people? --- I don't know their names, but they were police, white police.
Were they SAP? --- Yes, SAP, white SAP.
You also mentioned Mr Mogaphani. Who is Mr Mogaphani? --- He is my neighbour. His son was shot as well. He is now late.
And his son, what about his son who was shot? --- He is also dead.
Did you go and report this to the police? --- You mean about my son's death?
No, I mean about you? --- With mine it was just a rubber bullet, so I didn't report it, but David's case was heard and Mr Mathuga, the policeman was the one who shot my son. He shot my son.
Was he arrested? --- No, he wasn't, but he was fired at work, he was no longer a policeman.
Do you think he was dismissed from SAP because of killing David? --- I don't know but that's what I think.
(Inaudible) ... story, I couldn't help but feel that you are a very strong strong lady. The very fact that you are here today, to share the story with us, it does show that you are a survivor. In the history of women, when the perpetrators wanted to torture and harass them, they did it through their own children. I would like to know from you, how did the death of your son, how did it change your life and that of your family? --- Thank you very much.
Can you tell us how it changed your life and the family? --- I felt very sad.
(Inaudible) ... your family with your kids still the same? --- It has changed, I can't work for myself and my husband as well can't work.
Losing the sight in one of your eyes affected you badly. Can you tell us briefly how it changed your life as well? --- I can't see very clearly and I am always having headaches.
(Question not interpreted) --- Yes, the doctor is giving me.
(Inaudible) ... who have done in Orange Free State, Mama Liphoko, is that we have organised with the health department to give help to people like you. --- They aren't able to help us.
(Inaudible) ... that when you go back, you get in touch with our staff in Bloemfontein, so that they can help attend to your health problems. --- I don't have money, I will need money for transport to go to these doctors.
(Inaudible) ... that you will approach the TRC offices in Bloemfontein, and get some help. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Mama, can I just ask you a few questions, please? When you were shot by the rubber bullet, was this shot - did the rubber bullet hit your eye? --- It was on top of my eye.
Did you have any vision in the eye afterwards, can you see a little bit, or is it almost completely blind? --- I am slightly blind.
(Inaudible) ... at the time that he was killed. --- He was born in 1963.
Did you ever consult with any lawyer so that you could bring a case against the police for the shooting of your son, or for the damage to your eye? --- No, I haven't.
Mama, thank you for telling us your story. You have suffered immensely firstly by the loss of your eye, then the loss of your son, and now having to live without him. We hope that our office in Bloemfontein will at least be able to put you in touch with the health department, so that they can begin looking after your health. We thank you for coming today and for telling your story to us. Thank you. Mama, is there anything that you would like to tell us? --- No.
Thank you, Mama.
/BELLA JOYCE MOLOSIA
BELLA JOYCE MOLOSIA (Sworn States) (Through Interpreter)
CHAIRMAN: Good. Mama, we have asked Miss Virginia Gabashe to assist you with the telling of your story. She will now lead you.
MS V GABASHE: Thank you, Chair. We appreciate the fact that you have come from so very far to come and give your testimony, so that you can be counted amongst the women who have appeared before the commission to share their stories with us. Before we start talking, I shall ask you to just give us a brief description or a brief picture of your family, whether you still have a husband, children, are you working, are they working or are they still at school. --- I do have children. I do have a husband, but he is not employed. He is in pension. The children are present and they are staying at their places. There are two of them, it is a girl and a boy. They are both married.
Are they staying at their own places? --- Yes, I am staying with my husband only, at the present moment.
You have come to relate your story about being harassed by a certain gang called the "Three Million", which was in Kroonstad. Can you please start by telling us as to what happened to you, according to your statement? --- In 1990, on the 1st of December 1990, I was harassed by the Three Million gang, because they killed my sister's child, who was staying with me, and he was my responsibility, because he did not have parents.
What is the name of that? --- It is Clement Moguni(?).
Clement Moguni. You said here in December 1991,
according to your statement, is it 1991 or 1990? --- It is 1990. On the 1st of December.
He doesn't have parents any more? --- Yes, he doesn't have parents. His parents died a long time ago.
You can go on and tell us what happened. --- Clement was killed by the Three Million gang, and when they killed him it was on a Saturday, I was not present at my place, I had gone to a stokvel society.
Amongst the Three Million, is there any one of them that you can identify who was present at the time of the killing? --- (No audible reply)
Amongst the members of the Three Million gang could you identify any? --- I was not present when they killed him.
They were a certain gang and they used whistles. --- I was fetched by a policeman, who told me that as the whistles were being blown, they had already killed your sister's son, so you should run away, that's what the policeman told me. That policeman was Constable Magele(?).
Is he still alive? --- No, he has since been deceased. He was able to get me some refuge and I went to the old location, I left my house as it was, and I went to where I was born.
When you ran away, where did you go to, what is the name of that place? --- It is Marabastad. I went to Marabastad.
At whose place? --- I went to my place where I was born.
Where were you born? What is your surname? ---
My surname Rabanye(?).
Who is still alive at that place Rabanye? --- That place is still under me but I have leased it out so I ran to the people who had hired the place.
Who are these people? --- The old woman died.
You can go on. --- Then on the afternoon of that particular day, when Magele came to fetch me. He asked me whether I wanted to see Clement's body. We went together with my sister to see the corpse.
Who is your sister? --- It is Gertrude Naledi(?).
Naledi is the surname, is she still alive? --- Yes, she is still alive.
And where is she staying? --- She is staying in Kroonstad.
Whereabout in Kroonstad? --- She stays at Marabastad, 9th Avenue, next to the Methodist Church.
You can go on. --- We went together with my sister. When we got to where the corpse was, we found that the corpse was being looked after by a certain policeman called John Masoleng.
You can go on. --- And John Masoleng was harassing us, and my sister was quite scared to come near the corpse, and he told us not to open and inspect the corpse, and I defied him and decided that I was going to open the corpse so that I could identify him. And he said, "Here's our dog, it's dead, and it is lying there". He actually didn't want us to get anywhere near the corpse or see the corpse, but I insisted and I defied him. I told him that I had the right to see the corpse of my relative. Then after seeing it, we went back with my
In your statement you also mentioned that you went to M... (inaudible) ... so that you can get the death certificate? --- Yes, I went to ... (inaudible) ... on Monday. It was on Saturday, on the 1st of December, when they killed him, and on the 3rd it was a Monday, and I went to ... (inaudible) ... to fetch the death certificate. That's when I met the Three Million gang at the court.
And was M... (inaudible) ... at the court? --- Yes, it was at court, where I got M... (inaudible) ...
What happened thereafter? Oupa Mashene, Babu and Mashangane, are they members of the Three Million gang, are they still alive? --- Babu is still alive, but Oupa Mashene and Mashangane are dead. Babu is still staying in Kroonstad, but we usually do see him.
You can go on. --- Oupa Mashene said he wanted my house keys at Throbo(?), he wanted to go and stay there. Because I was so scared I didn't know what to do, I was confused, I handed the keys over to him.
After you had given them the keys, what did they do? --- He threatened me, he told me that if I didn't give him the key they were going to break into my house and they were going to stay in my house whether I wanted them to or I didn't want them to. After I had given him the keys, Dewete's(?) brother came.
You can take your time. --- When he got to me, he asked me as to who had taken the keys and I told him. Then he said I mustn't be worried, because he was going to try by all means that my furniture shouldn't be destroyed.
Was it Dewete's brother who was saying that? What was Dewete's brother's name? --- It was Woudi(?).
Take your time, we understand your pain. --- My furniture was not destroyed, even when I went there my furniture was still intact, but they took my house away from me, even today I am not staying in my house.
After they had taken the keys, did they go to stay in your house? --- That is correct, they went to stay in my house, and I ran to Kroonstad. They wanted to kill me, they threatened me and they were saying I'm the comrade's mother.
When they said you are the comrade's mother, who are the comrades, where were they, what connection did you have with them? --- My sister's son who was killed was a comrade.
Now, when you were at M... (inaudible) ..., did you get your certificate? --- Yes, I did get the death certificate.
What did it state as the cause of death? --- I still do have it, but it is in the car.
What killed him? --- I went to the police station to report him, but the policemen in Kroonstad did not want to take a case that involved the Three Million gang, and they said it was an unknown murder.
In your statement you state that you have your Title Deed, the house was given to you? --- Yes, my boss or employer gave the house to me.
Now, after you got this house, on the 16th in 1987, was there any other certificate or Title Deed that was issued to somebody else therefore depriving you of the ownership of the house? --- The certificate was signed
1987. After a few years the house has been given to another person now.
Who got the certificate or the Title Deed? --- Is a member of the Three Million gang, who is still staying in my house.
What was his name? --- I know them by these short names, I don't know whether they are nicknames. It - his name is Brou(?) Lahulu(?), Brou Samson Lahulu. He is a member of the Three Million gang.
Do you know or have any idea as to how he got the Title Deed or the permit to stay in the house? --- I know absolutely nothing, when you get a house you get the keys from the Municipality office. And when we went to ask as to - the people working at the municipality office were the one who gave the Three Million gang the keys, they said when I escaped I escaped, I just ran, I never reported the matter to them. Now, how was I going to report, because I was actually escaping.
Can you please tell us who gave them the permit or the Title Deed? --- I don't know ... (inaudible) ...
(END OF CASSETTE NO 1)
2A/0 (START OF CASSETTE NO 2)
... it is still like that even now. When you go to them they say we don't know, that happened a long time ago, go and ask Mr Kwekwe, or go to the Three Million gang. They don't give you anything tangible to hold on to, they always tell us that they don't know.
Now, let's go back to your life. Where are you staying now? --- We are staying at a certain hostel.
What hostel is that? --- It is Sasoville(?) Hostel, that's where I stay with my husband.
Are you paying any rent? --- Yes, we are, we are paying R80,00.
How many rooms is it? --- It is a two-roomed ... (inaudible) ...
Now, I do realise that you were harassed and traumatized during that time. How do you feel now, how did this affect you? --- I was very affected, because I don't have a place to stay. I am not stable in any place. My children don't have any future, because I myself am not stable, I am staying at a hostel, and at some stage I will have to go out of the hostel because my children will be told that this is not your mother's place.
How do you feel physically or mentally or psychologically? --- I was quite disturbed and I got so many diseases thereafter, I ended up suffering from nerves. I also had high blood pressure. And I took some treatment at the hospital, as well as a private doctor, who also diagnosed me as being - as suffering from nerves.
Do you pay when you go to the hospital? --- Yes, I do pay. It was R13,00 before, but now it is R15,00 and I am still paying R15,00.
Now, have you got any documentation or your cards as to the treatment that you are taking? --- Yes, I do have some cards with regard to the treatment that I am taking from Wedumele Hospital, I have the private doctors papers as well as Wedumele Hospital documentation.
Are you getting any pension or grant? --- I am
not getting any pension, nor am I getting a grant. At times I don't go for my treatment because I don't have money.
Who told you that you will get your grant when you take your treatment? --- It was the clerks who told me, the hospital clerks.
Maybe you should try to approach the welfare department, so that they can assist you. Where is your husband? --- My husband was retrenched, and that's when he left work, so he is not able to go back. He was actually trying to apply for his pension money. He was working at the municipality offices, so they are trying to give him his pension. He hasn't yet got the pension. It is only now that he is trying to apply and prepare the documentation for the pension.
Is there anything that you want to say to the commission, or the help that you need? --- I was just asking for help or assistance with regard to my pension.
We thank you very much, because you have come from so far, to come and relate your story to us. And tell us your problems. We will hand over to the chairperson. --- I ask that my house should be returned back to me.
CHAIRMAN: I shall just ask you to explain to us as to what is the Three Million gang? When they talk about the Three Million gang, what sort of people are they? And how did they have a relationship with the police, are they still alive? Just give us a brief explanation? --- The Three Million gang were quite huge people and the ones who were leading the gang are now dead, but the policemen were working hand in hand with the Three Million, because whenever the Three Million was chasing you, even if you
wanted to help the community to kill the Three Million gang, the police would come with teargas canisters and throw them at the community, which means they were actually helping the Three Million. And whenever you were fighting with the Three Million gang, the police would kill you. That is how it happened, because the Three Million gang now that is left are the youths, who are now scared to go back to their homes, because they are scared of being victimized by the community, because they were used by the leaders, and the people of the ANC now are there, and the ANC has made peace, but these youths cannot go back to their own houses because they knew how they handled the people and how they conducted a reign of terror within the community. Mr Kwekwe is the one who was taken out of the council, because he was working with the Three Million. He used to pay them every Monday, and he used to give them food and the SAP was not co-operative, they were protective of the Three Million gang instead of being protective of the community. That's the life we lived in Kroonstad.
We have already had Nozizwe Madlala, who spoke about the harassment of women, as well as the decision to lead the community and fight for the rights of the community. As a person who has lost your son what do you think the commission could possibly do for you, or to help the Three Million gang so that they go back and re-integrate into the community so that they can live peacefully? --- I think it can help in combating the crime in Kroonstad that's still be conducted by the Three Million gang. I believe there is still something that the community can do. Some other criminal groups or vigilantes are
beginning to form now, besides the Three Million gang.
Thank you very much. I want to add on to what Mama Mkhize has already said. This Three Million gang, do they have parents there at the location? --- Yes, they do have parents.
What are their parents doing? Are they working? Are they aware that their children were conducting a reign of terror? How do the people live with the children of those parents? --- At Throbo there is a - it is a new location that has just been allocated. The place is quite scary, because these children have given themselves or allocated themselves people's houses. I am not the only one whose house was taken away from me, some other people decided to go to the rural areas, the children are staying in those people's houses. If the children could come to you and say they are asking for forgiveness, and they want to come back to the location, they want to re-integrate into the community, we can forgive them because they are children. I believe they did not know what they were doing. It was agreed amongst the community that they should go back to their parents, so that everybody could get his or her house back, but they flatly refused.
CHAIRMAN: (Inaudible) ... us your story. I think one of the difficult problems that the commission has to deal with is the question of those people who have been displaced from their homes. And that has happened right around the country through vigilantes. The commission is looking into it. You know that in Kroonstad recently the amnesty committee of the commission has heard about the story of the Three Million gang. We will be
investigating this matter. And the commission will have to come up with some kind of policy to make sure that people like yourselves are about to return to their homes. We thank you and the previous witness, who have come all the way from Kroonstad, to share this day with us, and to tell the story of your own suffering and your own plight. We have heard it, and we will see what we can do about it. Thank you, Mama.
CHAIRMAN: We will now break for tea until a quarter past eleven.
SYLVIA NOMHLE DLAMINI (Sworn States) (Through Interpreter)
CHAIRMAN: We normally assign a commissioner to assist witnesses with the telling of their stories. In this instance, I will be helping you. And I will ask you to tell us a little bit about yourself, how old you are, your own family, whether you are now the sole breadwinner in your family, and then you can tell us what you have come to share with us. --- My name is Nomhle Sylvia Dlamini. I am residing in Sobantu. I am the only one left at home. We were six. I am the only one left. And the other kids who aren't members of the family. I am staying at home and I am not working. I couldn't work all along, because I wasn't allowed to. Even I tried to take myself to school, but I couldn't and this other kids who are my siblings, I was the one who was supposed to maintain them. In this past years, I was staying with my mother. She was a Christian and she didn't know that we were comrades. One window at the back we removed the burglar guard, after my mother had gone to sleep, we used to remove that burglar guard and went out and she'll think we are still asleep. One day policemen came at home. When they arrived there they found that we were not there and my mother realised that we were not at home, and police asked my mother where we were and she didn't know truly and they took my mother with them. When we came home the next day, we asked our neighbour and the neighbour told us that we mustn't go to our house because police were all over the place the whole night. During the day my mother came. I waited there until 5 o'clock
and I went inside the house. I asked my mum, "Mum, what's going on?" and my mother didn't want to talk to me. She asked for painkillers. I left to look for the tablets and later on when I came back she told me police came and they took her and they wanted her and she tried to find out from me what was going on. I couldn't explain this thing to my mother that I am a UDF member. And her age, she was too old at that time, it wasn't easy for me to explain everything to my mother. Later on, I saw one man and I knew this man, he was a SB. I took a child and then I escaped through that window. Later, police got hold of me, they arrested me. They took me to Hilton and they locked me there. They didn't take me to court. I wasn't asked whether I know why I was arrested or not. They were harassing me. They used to use a wet towel to hit me. They used to take me and put me through the window and make me scared and tell me that they were going to drop me down. Some things I used to know them, letters, meetings, but I didn't say I knew them to the police. Later on, because I was locked alone, I couldn't speak to anyone, I was confused. I was interrogated. They released me. I found things were not okay at home. They were looking for my brother, who escaped, up until today we don't know where he went to. Some of my sibling went to Hammarsdale, and this other one they followed him to Hammarsdale and they shot him, and he survived. After he was shot, I looked for a place for him to stay. We went to the rural areas and I put him there, just to hide him there. I used to send things for him. Later my mother was taken by police, harassed all the time, and later then she got a heart attack, heart disease, high
blood pressure. And she couldn't get pension. And later on she died. In hospital they took time to give her medical attention. When she died clots were coming from her nose and from her mouth. I went back home. Police came. It was on Wednesday. They told me I couldn't wait to - for the funeral, we must bury and it mustn't be a big funeral. It was not easy for me to arrange that. People came. Some were from exile, and they came. I don't know how they came there. At the night vigil it wasn't good, police were all over. On Saturday - the body came on Friday and it was a night vigil and the funeral was going to be on Saturday. The programme was changed and the reverend told me he is only going to do the service at 10 o'clock and we didn't do anything in church. We were sent to the cemetery. And while we were there, people came, a lot of people. I didn't know where they were coming from, but some of them were Inkatha members, and then now people were fighting. My aim was to make sure that the coffin was going down and people were talking and then I removed the blanket on me, I threw it away. And I was talking to Thembinkosi and people were shooting each other, fighting. After we finished - by the time we finished people were injured, and my relatives were not there. It was just me who was supposed to see what to do. We went back home and that's where I realised that my mother died because of me, and this was the last time I saw my family. I stayed alone from 1986 up until today.
I want to ask you some questions to make sure that I have all the facts clearly before us. How old were you at the time when the - you were a member of the UDF? --- /I was
I was 15 years at that time.
What were you and the group that you belonged to, what were you involved in, in the township? --- In Sobantu we were lucky, we didn't have so much problems because we didn't have Inkatha/ANC fights. We were lecturing or educating youth about politics.
You mention in your statement that you were also earning R45,00 a week, were you working during this time as well? --- Yes, I was working. When I was 16 years I had to leave school because I was taking care of other kids whom I was staying with at home. From this R45,00 I used to take care of a lot of things. We used to pay rent, buy food for everyone in that house. I was the only one who was working.
You were not able to tell your mother that you were involved in the UDF. Can you share a little with us why that was not possible? --- My mother was old and she was very strict. She didn't like things like politics, it wasn't easy for me to tell my mother of anything that I used to do privately. More especially, when it comes to politics, because she was a Christian.
When she discovered that you, in fact, were a member of the UDF, what was her reaction? --- She asked me why I decided to join in politics. I explained to her why. Firstly, I used to admire things that we couldn't get. When you grow up, you realise things that things that are happening to other people and not happening to yourself and then you try to do something about it. And some times we used to visit other places and they couldn't allow us to enter those places because we were black. So, I wanted to know more why we were not allowed to have
other things. Even in shops, if you get there, if you hold the toys, then they tell you not to touch anything, but a white child can touch everything. I used to ask my mother what's going on and my mother used to tell me, no, it is nothing. And one day I came across one lady, she was an ANC member, she is late now. I asked her why are these things happening. So she explained to me, that's where I got an interest in joining UDF.
You also say that because of this your mother was constantly harassed and interrogated by the police. She was tortured. Do you want to tell us a little bit about what you know about what happened to her when she was tortured? --- What she used to come back and tell me is that she was given an electrical shock and she couldn't remember what they used to use hitting her head. Other day they put a plastic over her head and she couldn't breath, and one day she told me one white man came and he tied her and then he hit her, and even after she died, she had bruises all over her ribs.
You also told us that they constantly asked her about where you were getting arms and ammunition from. Was this correct, were you actually storing arms at the time? --- We used to receive arms and ammunitions but they were just passing, I only know where they were going. And they used to describe those people who were supposed to receive the ammunitions and then you just go to the place because you didn't even know the person you are going to meet. And they used to arrive the same way. And after my mother died soldiers came to my house and they were searching the yard, every where. I couldn't get rest. And after that they used to come continuously.
Even the child that I had, I couldn't have time for my child. Some times I used to use my child to hide weapons and transport those ammunition.
Nomhle, you yourself was detained in the police station for six months without being charged. I know that it is painful for you to tell us about what they did to you, but it is important for us to know what the details of what happened. Are you able to share that with us? --- At the time when I was detained, there were certain times that they would blindfold me just before they assaulted me. There was a rag that they used to blindfold me. At some stage I was put on a chair and they would handcuff my hands behind my back and start assault me. And they would tell me that they were going to kill me if I wasn't giving them the information that they wanted. And at times it would have - it would happen for quite long periods of time, and they would give me water that looked like starch. And at times they would put a tube on my head for quite a long time. At times they were take the child and put it in a separate room, whenever the child wanted to suck I couldn't make the baby suck because she was in another room and I was in the next room. When they couldn't get what they wanted, they opened up the window and they would grab me by the throat and tell me that they were going to throw me out of the window if I don't tell them what they wanted to know.
(Inaudible) ... --- Yes, there was a time when they arrested me together with the baby.
Describe for us what it means when they put a tube over your face? --- They would first tell me to do the frog jump and whenever I was sweating, it was then that
they would put the tube over me and the tube would stick on my face because I was sweating at that time and my face was wet. And when they were doing this, they would assault me at the same time. There was a certain small room, almost the size of the toilet, and whenever they were assaulting me I couldn't block their assaults, I couldn't protect my body or my face and they would take a very big wet towel and one would grab the towel from the other end. I used to stick my hands up inside the towel and one would pull the towel from the other end, and the other one would pull it from the other end. Then one policemen said they must just kill me and throw me in the forest because I did not want to speak. They took me in another night and they put me in a van. They took me to a certain place, it was next to a dam, but I am not sure what this place was.
Did you ever recognise any of these policemen who did it to you? Are you able to tell us who they are? --- They would be white policemen who I don't know, I could not recognise them. There wasn't a single black man, except the one who were coming at my place.
(Inaudible) ... prison ... (inaudible) ...
(NO FURTHER RECORDING ON SIDE A)
2B/0 (START OF SIDE B)
(Recording commenced quarter of the way along)
... get any food and there was a time where I couldn't wash for three days. They never allowed me to drink any water.
(Inaudible) ... was the baby able to feed properly, how did you manage with the baby in prison? --- I ended up stopping breastfeeding him and he also didn't
want to suck because he was not used to it by then. He got very sickly, but he managed to grow up to be a man.
(Inaudible) ... --- He is 15 years old now.
(Inaudible) ... --- I sat down with him one time and explained to him, because he had a lot of questions that he always asked me. But what I noticed, his behaviour changed and he doesn't like talking about whatever happened in the past, he is very short-tempered. And whenever he asked the first question was, "How come the boers were always coming to our place?" and one time we had to gone to a certain party, where there were children of different races. He always said he didn't want to play with the white children, he always played with black kids as well as coloured kids. Now, he is in Standard Six. But throughout I would go to the children to find out how his performance was and when it is recess he never wanted to play during play-time, he just wanted to stay in doors. Even at home, I forced him to have friends and try to coerce him into associating with his peers, but he just doesn't want to do it.
(Inaudible) ... out of prison, did you ever have any kind of proper medical check-up afterwards, do you receive counselling yourself? --- I never got any treatment, neither did I get counselling. I have never been to a doctor ever since.
(Inaudible) ... presume hasn't received any counselling either? --- He also hasn't received any treatment.
(Inaudible) ... earlier in your evidence that you also had to take care of your one brother. Was he also politically active? --- I was the eldest and I could
influence them. And they ended up following me.
(Inaudible) ... --- One is with me and the other one I don't know where he is. He has disappeared a long time ago. I don't know whether he is still alive, because I tried to look for him but I just couldn't get any clues as to his whereabouts.
(Inaudible) ... that whilst your mother was being buried they weren't able to do anything in the church, was this because the police were harassing you, or did the priest in charge refuse to do anything in the church? --- No, he did not refuse, but there were certain members of the SB and they told the priest or the reverend that there mustn't be any of the stuff that is being done in funerals, it must just be a simple plain funeral.
You mentioned that your family blame you for your mother's death. Do you also blame yourself, because that - you seem terribly emotional about that, and one gets the sense that you fell a certain amount of guilt about that. Is that correct? --- At first it felt very unsettling, very painful, as well as disturbing, because I was separated from my family, I was actually ostracised, and when I came across problems I couldn't contact anyone and I didn't have anyone to talk to because all of my relatives were blaming me for my mother's death. Secondly, they just neglected me and they did not accept me. And I also couldn't accept the situation but I ended up having to accept it, because that is just how it was happening. But my sole source of conciliation was that I was with my other siblings, and they were my solace. I found solace in them. But when my mother was sick, I asked her as to how she was feeling about the whole issue
of my joining politics, she said to me what I was doing was right, because I was fighting for rights. I think she said that on a Monday and she died on a Wednesday.
(Inaudible) ... glad about that, hey? How do you support yourself now and your son? --- There is a certain elderly woman who is a neighbour, ever since my mother died she is the one who helps us keep head above water. She always comes to my place to help us with whatever we needed, and whenever I get temporary jobs I would also give back to her, because I know later on she would help me out of my problems. Because I couldn't get a permanent job, but two weeks back I received a letter and I found that I had been listed as a new recruit, so on the 5th of November I will be leaving to join the army.
Thank you for your story. I am going to ask the other commissioner if they want to ask you any questions?
UNIDENTIFIED COMMISSIONER: Thank you, chairperson. I will also ask you a few questions. It is apparent that you are very troubled emotionally. In your statement you have stated that you were also harassed and they also wanted to know about the weapons. Are you any of the young comrades who were trained in handling arms? --- I never went outside the country to get trained to handle the arms, but there was a certain way we used to transport the arms, but we never used the arms personally. They would arrive and we would take the consignment out.
My second question is, were there many women in this organisation who were helping in accepting the arms and transferring them? --- We were only two women. And there were six males.
As you can see that today the truth commission
hasn't adopted the usual normal procedure. Can you tell us how you felt as a woman, when you look back now as a woman, how did this all affect you? --- It affected me quite drastically because I am not sure whether I was a proper mother to my child, because I never had time to raise him up. So, I don't know whether I acted in the proper manner, I doubt myself as a mother. Secondly, there are certain things when I look at other women, I find that they have progressed so much and I feel that I haven't done anything as a woman, because I've never lived with women for quite a long time.
Nomhle, I have accepted that as the commission we should also assist our president as to what should happen to people or victims of the atrocities of the past. What do you think we, as a commission, should do so that women must not pass this way again? --- I think that when a woman is arrested, they must take certain things into consideration, because my living conditions in the prison were quite terrible. We want it to be explained to us many women are very scared to join politics and they are scared to go in prison, because they always take us that we cannot possibly handle ourselves as women, we cannot be involved in politics, but I feel is we as women can act and do things that men do and we can do much more than they can. And we want to be respected, we want to be independent, because even in jobs they would say, no, this is a woman, you can't do this job. We want to get our rights as women.
Lastly, before I hand over to the chairperson, if you could see the police who were torturing you, what are the things that you would possibly tell them as the police
who actually tortured you and detained you without trial? --- I would tell them about the manner in which they assaulted me. I don't wish to see any person or any woman going through the same torture and through the same torture, same trauma that I went through. I couldn't change, I couldn't wash for days on end. And the food that I was eating was not proper. I was assaulted to such an extent that at times my eyes were swollen shut. I don't believe a woman should be subjected to that type of treatment. Because I believe if you ask a person you talk to that person, probably that person may end up wanting to give you the information, because the manner in which they assaulted me made me even more stubborn, and it made me fearless, to such an extent that I never told them anything. Probably if they talked to me, I would have given them some answers to their questions.
UNIDENTIFIED COMMISSIONER: I have got two questions, Nomhle, that I am going to ask from you. This is a very painful story, but we take you as a hero. It is apparent that when you grew you, you lost your childhood, you never had a chance to be a child. You were thrown into the world of being an adult. And you lost your opportunity to be educated. You also lost your right to humanity. Now, today, when you are sitting and thinking what are your wishes, what are your aspirations that you had as a child but couldn't reach? --- I wished to study medicine, because at school I was doing science, maths, as well as biology.
How did you fare at school? --- I used to pass my courses, but at times I wasn't going to school so I lost touch with my studies.
What are your dreams now? --- I would like to continue with my education, because I used to do private courses, at times when they were offering free courses, because I did not have money and I would travel by foot from Sobantu to town.
You do have aims in life. My second question is, we know that the family is very important, especially when a person is traumatized as well as tortured or emotionally disturbed. Now, I can see that you have got some wounds that haven't yet healed, with regard to your relationship with your family. Do you wish us to be in an intermediatory position where we can try to bring your family back together again? --- Yes, I do have that wish.
Is there a way in which you can advise us as to how we can approach or broach this subject? --- I really do not know, but they totally don't accept me, but I do wish to talk to them as they are part of my family.
You also mentioned that you don't have a good relationship with your child. What did you mean by that? --- When I gave birth to my child I was very young. And now as he is grown up, some of the things that he does I don't know how to deal with them.
It is apparent that you are quite a clever woman and you explain things quite easily, they are very clear to us. We are going to hand over to the chairperson.
UNIDENTIFIED COMMISSION: Nomhle, you have already told us a lot about yourself, your life and your family life. You talked about your brother. What is this other brother doing, what is his name? --- Yes, we are staying with him, but he is not employed.
What is his name? --- His name is Vusi.
CHAIRMAN: (Inaudible) ... army as a recruit. What will happen to your son then, who will look at him while you are at base? --- I asked Vusi to stay with him whilst I am away.
Thank you for coming today. You are indeed a survivor of the struggle, and in a sense one can only appreciate why we have got where we are today because it is made up of people like yourself, women with the hearts of warriors, and who with all of that have managed to sustain some kind of belief system in their selves and have still managed to go forward. You dream of being a doctor, you dream of being - of furthering your studies. And I think that if you join the army, at least that opportunity will be given to you. We have heard what you say. I think the recommendations you make that the conditions in the prisons, particularly for women, need to be looked at very carefully. I also think that there needs to be some kind of counselling for both you and your son, because the mental scars are still there. But we salute your courage and we hope that we will be able to assist you in some of the things that you have talked about. Thank you for coming today and being part of this special day.
/UNKNOWN BY REQUEST
UNKNOWN BY REQUEST
(DORIS NGUBANE (Sworn States) (Through Interpreter))
CHAIRMAN: Mama, Dr Ramashala will assist you with the leading of your evidence. I will now hand over to her. --- My name is Doris Ngubane from KwaMashu.
DR RAMASHALA: If you don't want to reveal your name, Mama, it is okay. You are relating to us a very sad story here. I can see on your statement. --- We have 7 sons and one daughter, who is married. We are from Nkumbane, me and my husband. We went and settle in KwaMashu. My husband works at Blanket(?). Violence started after a while. It was worse in 1992. I began to realise that it was real bad when it actually affected me personally. Police came and Inkatha members came. We ran out of our houses, some when to schools. I wasn't the only one, neighbours, people from KwaMashu ran out with - together with the children. My house wasn't that far. As I was deciding to go back to my house to fetch a blanket, I was hesitant because there were soldiers all over the street and they used to take people and just go and dump them anywhere. I waited until late, because I wanted to go and fetch a gas to make food for my children. My husband on that day was at home. He told me that the man doesn't run away from his house. So, I went back to home so that I could fetch the blankets, because it was cold in that school. And I wanted to take the gas as well to make the food. When I was nearer the place where I was staying, I realised something from K Section as I was looking there. And I was scared. I saw three boys, they were running, they were coming from the soldiers. And as I was looking, I am not quite sure whether they took a short
cut, but when I arrived at my house they were right there with me. I took the keys from my pocket. I unlocked. As I was trying to unlock the door, the key couldn't unlock my door and then I looked around, I saw one of the guys was - Justice was his name - and I said, "Justice, how are you?" and he kept quiet, and he realised that I was scared. I was shaking. He took the key from my hand and opened the door. And all of a sudden I was wet at my back. I don't know what hit me or assaulted me. I got inside the house and my husband came and they hit my husband.
Can you please explain to us is Justice the boy that you knew before or it was your first time seeing him? --- He was the councillor. He was the guy who used to stay in a councillor's house. They came inside the house. They pull me next to my bed. And these two went to my husband and this other one struck me with a knife and I fell down. And this guy said to me, "Can't you hear what I am saying to you?". He kept on assaulting me. I have wounds all over my body, scars. I have 36 scars all over my body. They hit me with something, I think it looks like the knobkerrie which policemen are using. And I have scars all over my body now.
At this time when he was assaulting you, was he alone? --- No, they were there standing. I fell down. He came on top of me and then he started raping me and as I was crying he stabbed me. And he was stabbing me under my feet. And my husband was right there watching, as he was trying to look away they told my husband he should look.
As he was raping you, these other two, were they
standing watching you? --- Yes, they were watching and they were hitting my husband, not allowing him to look away, they said to him that he must look while this other one was raping me. He went and fetched a jug with water and he poured the water and he put the water in my private parts. And they kept on telling my husband that he should watch. The second one came. He also raped me and the other one hit me with the very same jug that they used to pour water over me.
Yes. --- And then the fourth one also came and he also raped me. After raping me he would fetch a jug of water and pour it on my private parts. And I have a hole in my head. And I have got lacerations and stab wounds all over my body. And I don't know how these were inflicted in me. When they went, they told me that if they didn't get me where I was, they were going to kill us, because my son was carrying a UDF flag.
Who started doing this, was it Justice? --- That is correct, it was Justice, but at that time he was not living in that area, he had gone to join the army and he was together with the other soldiers who were coming into the location.
Do you possibly know the names of the other people who also raped you? --- No, I only knew Justice. From there I don't know what happened to my husband, but a certain man from the very same area came to find out what had happened, then my husband asked him to assist him to carry me and they took some possessions from the house. And he didn't know how to take me to the hospital, because I had been very injured at that time, up till such time that an elderly man came and said they should take a
blanket and carry me to Malandella's place, so that he can phone the ambulance to come and pick me up because they were not going to be able to take me out. And there wasn't anybody to assist my husband, because they had gone to a certain group called "Amasinyora". The youths used to move from place to place, and they went around attacking the places. Even the ones who were staying further up were guarding the place to see as to who was getting in and out of the location.
(Inaudible) ... --- I don't know because they were Inkatha members who were going to Ulundi. They are also affiliated to Inkatha. Because when we ran away, we saw Shabalala and Shabalala was fighting with us.
(END OF SIDE B)
3A/0 (START OF SIDE A)
... I was offered the services of an ambulance to take me to E Section. When I got there I was seen by Mdluli. And Mdluli grabbed this letter away from me.
Who is Mdluli, was it a policeman or what was he? --- He was the commissioner of police, but he was staying at Gawula(?), but I don't know where he originates from and he asked me where I was taking the letter to. He asked me whether I was tired of being what I was, but I never answered him back. Then he hit me with a bunch of keys, the very big keys, prison keys. He tore up the letter that I had got from the doctor as evidence, and they were - I was supposed to be given pension on the basis of what was written on that letter. My teeth were wired and I couldn't get my feet into my shoes and my set of teeth had to be extracted.
Did you go back to the hospital? --- I lost
everything because he took the letter as well as a certain ticket that I was having with me and I had to start afresh and they couldn't detect as to when I started having treatment, where did I end, I just had to start everything from scratch. I asked the doctor once more to make me another medical certificate and make me a few copies so that whenever one gets lost I would remain with the other copies. He prepared the letters as well as copies and I did not go back to my place. I have got five daughters-in-law as well as grandchildren, and we hired some space from a certain yard and that is where we are staying. And I feel unaccepted, I am scared to face the people. I never go to any gathering, whether it is a community gathering or whatever gathering there is within the community. Standwa(?) was also encouraging me to come.
(Inaudible) ... in raping you, did anybody else know? --- They never knew it. This is what troubles me because I need to integrate back into the community. I need to reestablish my social life. I have never told this to anyone. Only my husband and my rapists know this. Whenever we have gone out I can't remain in a place where there is a lot of people, I just can't face the public. But since I have spoken about this, they told me - she told me that I shouldn't be troubled by this whole situation, because the real people who should be embarrassed are the ones who raped me, because this deed was just dastardly according to her.
Where are these boys who raped you? --- I don't know where the rest of them are, but I know where Justice is, because he grew up in front of me and he was Alfie's bodyguard. Alfie was the mayor.
What does Justice say when he sees you? --- I don't know because when I greeted him I knew that probably they had come to kill me because they were killing other members of the community, but he never asked me or answered me, he just pushed me inside the house and that is when I started being stabbed and raped at the same time. When I got into the house, I was already bleeding, and ever since that time my husband has got dizzy spells and epilepsy.
(Inaudible) ... at all? --- Yes, we would go to the poly-clinics, because whenever you go to King Edward, they would tell you that you must go to a clinic that's nearest to your place, and at times they would give us prescriptions and the prescription tablets are quite expensive. And at that time my husband was not working, when he left work he got an amount, a lump sum of R3 000,00. And we put this money aside, we invested it, and each month we get R9,00 interest and ever since then I haven't been able to work, so we have absolutely no income.
If we can try and assist you, as well as your husband, counselling? --- I would appreciate that effort.
We want to try and assist you so that you will be able to talk about this incident. The more you talk the better it will be. --- I feel better because I do go to church, because at first I used to hide myself away from the public eye. And ever since I've seen Numsa, I would always go to church. I thank that the opportunity that I have been offered by this commission to come and voice my feelings out to talk about something that I
haven't spoken about for years. Now, I feel I am a little bit relieved that I have been offered this opportunity to come before this commission. I got injured, I sustained bodily injuries and I had to have my womb removed. And my husband is suffering from epileptic fits.
Is he also not getting any treatment? --- No, he doesn't get it. At times he goes to Johannesburg to get some better treatment. We are not getting any pension and my documents were torn up by the doctor and when I went back to the doctor they said that doctor was not working there any more. Thereafter, I lived the life of a social recluse. I was not happy and other people who were my age, I could not associate with them, I was even scared to talk to my daughters-in-law. Because I didn't know how they would look at me.
I shall hand over to the chairperson, if she has any questions then I will come back to you once more.
CHAIRMAN: (Inaudible) ... and then may I come back again. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED COMMISSIONER: Mrs Ngubane, this is a very touching story. What touches me most is the family fabric that has now been broken, because your husband saw all this and he accepted you back. --- Yes, he is the one who looked for the alternative residence, and we built up a shack where we could stay temporarily. And whenever I think of going to my place, that memory always comes back to me as if they are going to attack me once more.
You told us that this matter was a closely guarded secret, but now you said just now that you are scared to face your daughters-in-law. Do they know? --- Now,
the way I felt, I think my conscience made this to be like it is, because they never knew anything and this thing is staying inside me, I can't relate it to them. And this makes me quite tense and it makes the relationship between me and my daughters-in-law quite tense, because I can no longer speak to them in the manner that I used to. Now, I feel a bit relieved because I am facing other women and I feel that by talking about what happened to me, it sort of brings some sort of relief to me, and I find some solace in talking to you. And I always feel I am to blame because I went to that place to just check how my family was, so some times I feel I invited the trouble myself.
Lastly, if something happens to a person, you feel degraded, you feel dirty. How - what did you do in order to be able to cope with the situation? --- I felt very degraded. I felt dirty. Because this has never ever happened to me, I used to hear stories of women being raped, but I never knew it would ultimately happen to me and especially that I am a Christian, it still places me in a state of confusion.
We thank you. I shall hand over to the chairperson.
UNIDENTIFIED COMMISSIONER: We were still asking you and it is very obvious that you were traumatized. I don't know whether I heard you properly when you said you get R9,00 interest. --- Yes, we were not getting a lot of money when my husband was working. And he got a lump sum of R3 00,00 when he stopped working. He had to stop because he was a danger to himself and we got a sum of R3 000,00, which he invested, but we get R9,00 every
How do you survive on this meagre amount of money? --- My daughter-in-law always brings me food at times. She would buy in bulk and give us some part of her groceries, but you cannot depend on that.
Have you ever approached the welfare society to ask for assistance? --- I didn't have confidence in going to people because I still had that feeling whenever you go to these places, people will not be willing to volunteer information or how they could help you.
CHAIRMAN: I just want to clarify this issue. You witnessed the attack on the house next to you and that attack was the Amasinyora, is that correct? --- Yes, it is correct, I witnessed that and the owners of the house ran away. Somebody was burnt. That's when we decided to run away from the area and seek some place of refuge.
(Inaudible) ... say that your own son was targeted by the Amasinyora and that was because he was a member of the UDF at the time. Can you tell us a little bit about what Amasinyora was doing in the township at the time? --- Some were Inkatha members, and the Inkatha members were separated into half, some were Amasinyora and the rest remained to be Inkatha, and Justice was now joining the soldiers and they were patrolling the location in their cars and he would go around pointing out certain houses that were to be targeted. At times they would go to the different areas. And they would take whatever information they had about a certain area and deliver that information to another area, so they knew all about us, even though they did not stay in our area. And we would
ask the children as to where they were coming from.
UNIDENTIFIED COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... about the violation of women and its aftermath, is the families don't talk about it. Did you and your husband ever talk about this between the two of you? --- Do you mean the rape? It was myself as well as my husband who knew about it and the doctor who treated me thereafter.
Did the two of you talk about it amongst yourselves? --- At times we would talk about it, but we wouldn't delve into the nitty-gritty of what happened, because it actually made the situation soar and the atmosphere quite tense. My husband would say I am alive and I appreciate the fact that you are also alive, so we must just forget about the matter and put it to rest. So, we sort of avoided talking about the situation. And whenever we talk about this, his attacks would start, because he is sickly. He doesn't really look as if he is perfectly normal. I don't know what happened to him, he is a totally changed man. He doesn't talk, he just keeps quiet most of the time. Then when a third person comes in, we start talking and at times we even become surprised at ourselves, because when we are together it is as if there is nobody in the house, we always keep quiet, and when the third person comes in it is only then that we talk.
(Inaudible) ... that you still feel that you don't want anybody else to know about that even now? --- I do not want them to know because they never knew it from scratch. According to my knowledge they do not know it, because I have never been asked about it. It is only at my place, my immediate relatives who know that this
(Inaudible) ... know that you are here today talking to the commissioner about this? --- My husband as well as one my daughters-in-law. But they do not know what happened thereafter. They do not know the whole story as to what happened, especially with regard to the operation, my husband only knows what they did to me. My daughter-in-law said she wished to accompany me to this hearing, and she was going to hear as to how this happened, but unfortunately she isn't present.
(Inaudible) ... Mama asked that her hearing be done incognito. It's really not quite incognito. And therefore I would like to request the media to really respect her wishes as she leaves the room. But I would also like to acknowledge that the fact that we have her shielded is that women can never talk openly about what happens to them when they are raped and violated, because our society cannot deal with this, our society cannot acknowledge it. And therefore we carry this burden not being able to share it with our loved ones. And not being able to also get rid of it ourselves. We don't have men in this hearing today, but I hope the men will pick it up on the media that it is not their bodies to take. And that until there is a culture of respect, not just for everyone, but for women especially, that perhaps our country will not change regardless the very freedoms that we enjoy. Madam Chair, I would like to say to Mama I am humbled, I am pained, I have the deepest respect for her, because through her talking about her story, I hope that many other women who have shared the same experience
can come forward and talk about it. Only this way can we get the true story, the complete story, about how the conflict violated women and used women in a variety of ways, other ways by taking their children away, in order to break women down. On behalf of the commission, I salute Mama. And hats off to you for your bravery. And thank you very much. And thank you, Madam Chair.
CHAIRMAN: Mama, you have taken the first step on the way to dealing with it, which is to come forward and tell the story publicly. Simply relating that and sharing that with other people helps, I think, to shift the burden from you to where it belongs properly, at the hands of your perpetrators. I think you need to acknowledge that the guilt is not yours, the guilt belongs to those who did this to you. We will respect your request that whilst your testimony may be utilized, your name must not be used and by the powers that are invested in me through this act, I rule that your name will not be released until such time as you give us permission to do so. Your story though will be used. Thank you for coming today. Mama, is there anything that you would like to tell the commission? --- That is all I can say. It is just that I am sickly together with my husband. At times they would give us six tablets and we would be told that we should come the following month, and I can't survive with my illnesses with six tablets, that supply is just not enough for the whole month. I have to take painkillers, I have to take a rheumatism tablets, I also have asthma and whenever I go to fetch my asthma medication I am always told that I used to much of it, I should save it more than use it.
I think that the members of the reparation committee who sit here will have taken note of some of the problems that you are raising. And will probably refer you to the health system, so that some intervention can be made on your behalf. Thank you for coming today.
(END OF RECORDING ON SIDE A)
3B/0 (START OF SIDE B)
WITNESS UNKNOWN BY REQUEST
BAJABULILE NZAMA (Sworn States) (Through Interpreter)
CHAIRMAN: I will now ask Ms Gabashe to assist you with your evidence.
MS GABASHE: I greet you, Bajabulile. I would like to start by thanking you, the bravery that you have that you came today before this commission, and relate your story. And it is a very sad story. And when I check on your statement, and realise the years you were still very young. You can take time. Before we can start talking about your story, I would like you to first relate to us or tell us more about your family. Do you have parents, brothers and sisters? --- I have a father and a mother and I have five brothers.
Is your mother working? --- Yes, she is working. She is a carpenter.
Where is she staying? Where are you from? --- I'm from Inanda. My mother is not working.
Are you the only daughter at home? --- No, we are two.
And how many boys? --- Three boys. I am the first - I am the first daughter, even though I am the second born at home, the first born is a boy. My brother is working, my elder brother, and my younger brothers are still at school.
Now, I would like you to relate to us what really happened or what was happening at Inanda before the night of this ordeal that you experienced? --- Inanda had two organisation basically, IFP and ANC. And I was never affiliated to any political organisation. I am from
B Section. And where I am staying, it is actually a bridge between where ANC and IFP were staying. In those days when they used to fight, people used to use the road next to my house and they used to tell themselves that in my house that's where Inkatha people were staying. I think they used to tell themselves this because it was between the areas, the two different areas.
You also said something about Nomdumisa Xulu? Can you please tell us about Nomdumisa? --- Nomdumisa is staying at an IFP area. But she also had a house at the ANC area.
Where is Nomdumisa now? --- She is now staying in rural areas.
Where are these farms? --- I am not quite sure, but I heard it is in Ixopo. One day I prepared myself, because I had to go to King Edward Hospital. I told Nomdumisa that I had a wound on my leg and I told Nomdumisa that I was going to hospital. And I suspected that Nomdumisa went to tell the ANC people that I am going to hospital. I didn't know that she was going to do that, because she was my friend. I left. When I was at the market I saw a bus which was leaving for King Edward and I said, oh I am so late because the doctor said I must arrive at the hospital early in the morning, so that they can give me the treatment. And then one guy came, who was wearing smart, and said to me, "I will help you, I am the administrator of King Edward, come, I will give you a ride". I went inside his car. And while I was in there, my eyes were closed, blindfold. I didn't know what was going on. And then I asked them, "Please, just let me make a call calling home".
When you asked to make a call, was this at Umlazi? --- No, Umlazi it's my other home. I don't know where it was where I made a call, because they had my eyes blindfolded. I told my aunt that, "Aunty, they've abducted me". And my aunt asked, "Who?", and then they took the phone and hang up. When I opened my eyes, I was inside a house B from Makhendeni(?). That's where they raped me. What is worse is that I was only 16 years, and I was still a virgin, and I had told myself that I wanted to be like my mother. I used to admire my mother because she only went out with one man, that is my father, and I tried to save my virginity and this is what happened to me. They raped me, the three guys. That was the end of my story. I got pregnant there. And when I came back home, I was pregnant and now I have a child whom I don't know his father. There was a certain girl whom I found in that house and she was also abducted, she said she was from Richmond Farm. They used to come and rape us, both of us, and they will take us to a forest and in that area there were a lot of bodies, dead bodies. And they used to tell us that this is what we will become. They used to assault us. They never used to give us food. They took my clothes, my money. They used to give us a bad porridge, which was black.
We know it is sad, but please take your time. We understand. Can you please tell us your aunt's name, the one from Umlazi and her address? --- I can give you her telephone number.
What's her name? --- Her name is Zuma.
When you said you were given black porridge, who was cooking that porridge? --- I wouldn't know that,
because they used to lock us. And we were locked there, the house has burglarproof. And when I went back home, I was - I had lost weight. Even today I don't like to stay with a lot of people. They used to lock us in that house and it used to be very dark. They used to come during the day and do whatever they wanted to do to please themselves, and then they will leave us there and lock the house.
You said they used to take you to a certain area where there were corpses. Can you take us there? --- Yes, I took police from Nsibene(?) to the same area.
Do you know where they are? --- Yes, the guy from Nyawo I still see him today, because he likes to swear at me and he tells me this child that I have it's his child. And sometimes he wants to take my child. But they do tell me at home that he comes and say these things. I don't stay at home a long time, because I am studying.
Did you report this to the police about this Nyawo boy who usually comes? --- No, I never went to the police and reported this, but I told one police, Mr Dweba(?).
From which police station? --- From Inanda Police Station, Nsibene. The judge told me that I was just a concubine in that area, I am lying, they didn't rape me. I can't remember the date on which this case was heard, it was in 1992.
Now, when this boy says this child is his, what is your mother saying to him? --- My mother tells him that, "This child is not yours, how do you know it is yours because you were sleeping with her all of you, you
were raping her?" My child is a boy, his name is Gamalesha.
Is he now in school? --- No, not yet.
Can I just ask one thing related to your child? Do you have a wish to know whose child it is? Don't you think it could be a good idea to have Nwayo boy to have him blood test that? --- I don't think it can help me any way because it hurts me.
Is your mother staying with your child? Are you still at school? --- Yes, I am. I am in Standard Eight.
Let me just ask one thing, since this thing happened to you, how do you feel? Like you said you had this wish in you that you wanted to keep your virginity until you get married. How do you feel now that this thing happened to you? --- It is so sad, but I always tell myself that the Lord has made me to be like this and planned my life to be like this.
Did you see any counselling or counsellor? Or doctors? --- No I haven't. I went to the doctor. My mother took me to the doctor.
Who was this doctor? --- He was at Kasimbe's building, but now I heard he is at Goble(?) Park, his name is Dr Park. He is a Goble Road, near Umgeni.
What did the doctor say after he examined you? --- He told me I had taken poison and he gave me medication, because even now I am still suffering from stomach ache.
Besides your stomach, what else did the doctor say? Or any other problems that you are experiencing? --- No.
How are you doing at school? --- I am still
coping but it is not the same way as I used to cope before this ordeal.
Do you relate well with friends in school? --- I don't have friends. I am always alone.
They never asked you how come you don't have friends, I mean your teachers? --- No, my neighbours used to ask me that and they ask me my son's surname and I don't know how to answer them back. That's why I don't want to keep friends because I don't know how to tell them.
What do you say to the child? Didn't he ever ask you his father, his surname? --- He does sometimes, he asked me and I tell him, "Your father is my father".
It is a very very sad story that you've just told us and one thing that it is very sad is that it looks like males usually they think the only way to show women that they are powerful is by them doing these things to us. But now they will realise that what they are doing, it is not really human, it is bad. And also I would like to ask you what are your aims or your objections in life? --- I want to continue with my studies and I will look for a job, so that I take care of my son in a proper way, because even today he is needy, but I don't know where to turn to because my father, he is the one who is taking care of us, who is supporting us. So, he can't manage to support my child in full, because there are also other kids who are my uncle's kids who is late and they are being supported by my father.
How is your mother? --- My mother, after I came back and told her about the story, she had a heart disease, up until today she is suffering from heart
And your father, what did he say after he heard this? --- My father is a very religious man. All he does is that he prays. My brothers they know about this because this abduction lasted for a month.
This Nyawo boy never came while your brothers were there? --- No. Another thing, my brothers are still young.
Your story, it is a very sad story. But I would like to thank the courage that you have and that after you gave birth to this child, whom you don't even know his father, you went back to school. And I would like to return to the chairperson.
UNIDENTIFIED COMMISSIONER: I would like to thank you and I would like to ask you a few questions, so that I get some clarification there and there. You said your friend is the one who told the people who abducted you to do so. Why do you suspect that she did that? Were you affiliated with any organisation? --- No, I wasn't affiliated with any organisation, but they thought I was because Inkatha members used to stand there next to my house.
When it came to this day when they abducted you, you also said they were three, do you still remember the one who came to you who approached you and offered a ride? --- No, I don't know that guy who offered a ride. If I knew this guy was with this other three I wasn't going to take that ride.
In your statement it also says that two of them appeared in court and you also said the magistrate found them not guilty, and only two were arrested and these other two got away. They escaped. --- They were four
all in all.
In your statement you - it shows that you believed that they did this to you because they believed that you were affiliated with Inkatha organisation. Is there any other things which they were saying while they abducted you besides raping you? --- Yes, they were assaulting me, beating me, and they were asking me to go and point buses which were going to Mawoti, Mateo, or B, so they needed me to point to them the buses to B, so that they will kill people who are going there, because it was believed to be Inkatha area. So, they also asked me to go to Umshasave's(?) house so that they have me knocking in one guy's house so that they can kill him. Fortunately I couldn't do this because one of them came to the house and left the door unlocked, that's when we escaped.
As you said, you said they needed you to point the buses? --- Yes, they used - and they shot at that bus, even though no one died.
UNIDENTIFIED COMMISSIONER: Now, I would like to start by greeting you. I only have one question. What did you do to manage to escape from that area which you were locked? --- One guy came, who used to come with them. I don't know whether he did it deliberately, or not, but he left the door unlocked. All the time after they were gone, we used to test the door if it is locked, but on that day when we checked it wasn't locked, so we escaped.
This person who came, is he one of those who used to rape you? --- No, he never raped me, he used to hit us. I don't know his name, and all the names which I gave you his name is not there, I don't know his name.
How far from that area which you were locked to your house? --- It is not that far, but I wasn't taking the normal route, because I was afraid they might catch me. I went via A Section, I passed Mr ... (inaudible) ... office place, and I managed to get home. When I arrived at home, they cried because they thought I was dead.
This other girl whom you were abducted together, did you see her after that? --- No, I didn't.
Thank you. Another thing that we do here as the commission is that we want to make sure where you are going after this, after you have appeared here we want to know where you are going? We are happy that you've showed us that you are really interested in your life, now you went back to school and you are studying. And it shows that you were actually an honest person. What I would like to know is that besides getting your education, there are other things which I expected from you as a woman. One day you will want to - you are supposed to have a family, you have a husband. Tell us now do you see men in general after what even the judge did to you? How do you see men today? --- I am scared of them. I don't know how to explain this thing so that people can understand it. I don't wish that any other person can feel this pain that I felt. I would like to say this to men that they should respect women.
I believe that women should always be told what is going to be done to her, or it should be done according to agreement. Do you have a boyfriend presently? --- Yes, I tried to have a relationship ... (inaudible) ...
(END OF CASSETTE NO 3)
4A/0 (START OF CASSETTE NO 4)
... that the relationship between you and your son is not quite good, because you don't know his father. --- I do love my child, because he is part of me. But to me he is a reminder of whatever happened to me in the past, but I always told myself that I am his only mother, so I should take care of him.
We thank you very much for having shared your story with us. Even though you are very young, we have learnt a lot from you. You said they said you must point out Simelane, what sort of a person was Simelane? --- Simelane was a member of the IFP.
Why did they want him amongst all other members of the IFP? --- He was the most infamous one, he was actually notorious. He is still alive.
CHAIRMAN: We know that it is a very painful story that you had to tell us. And at this time in your life you are still only 22 years old and you have had this experience which has probably left its mark on you for the rest of your life. I think we are encouraged by the fact that you still want to see justice being done. And you want to know why and how it has to be you. We will take cognisance of the names that you have given us. And we will pass it on to our investigation unit, so that something further can be done about the matter. We think that you show enormous courage by coming forward and the first step to come forward publicly is always a difficult one. In the case before yours, I think we were reminded of the fact that often the victim carries the guilt around with them as if it is their fault. And yet it is not
theirs, it is that of the people who did this to them, and we hope that you have managed to shift that burden from your own shoulders. I do think that from what you have you said we are going to have to ask that some kind of counselling be given you, because the sight of your son is a reminder of the ugly deed that was done to you. You do, however, say that you love him dearly, and that is why you will not impose upon yourself having to go through the test of finding out who indeed is the father. It is painful, but it is a reminder to all of us that we can only stop it happening if we begin to hear more women coming forward, because the more society the educated about the brutality of such deeds, the more we can begin to do things to stop it from happening. Thank you for breaking the silence and coming forward to share your story today. We salute your courage.
CHAIRMAN: We will now break for lunch and would like to resume proceedings by 2 o'clock. I would ask that we remain ... (inaudible) ...
MARIE ODENDAAL MAGWAZA (Sworn States)
CHAIRMAN: ... and we will ask Dr Ramashala to begin.
DR RAMASHALA: Good afternoon, Mrs Magwaza. Is your testimony going to pretty well follow what you have in writing? --- Yes, I can do that, if that won't be too long.
Oh, no, do it the way it is natural for you. Could we begin you giving a little brief background about yourself and then go ahead and tell your story. --- Okay, my name is Marie Odendaal Magwaza, I am a South African citizen, born on the 4th of April 1951. And I married a fellow South African, Humphrey Pagado Pax Magwaza in March 1990. We have three children: Delane, who is 15, he is my husband's first child; Maboya is 10; and Nsikilelo is 6. My parents were Johan Frederick Odendaal, born in 1913 and Dorothy Lorraine Odendaal, and they are cousins, born in 1920. My parents married in 1945, across a social divide between Afrikaans and English speaking white South Africans. And my father was a policeman in the South African Police Force and my mother a teacher. My father also served several terms as an elder of the Dutch Reformed Church in Richmond, so we grew up in a home where we spoke mostly Afrikaans, although us children went to school in the English medium of the Richmond Primary School. I am the third of four children. I have two older brothers: Willem, who was murdered in 1989; and Pieter; and a younger sister, Francis. I would like to give a little bit of background to try and make sense of my submission and to explain the basis on which I am making the submission, because I
realise fully that it is black people in South Africa and especially African people who have borne the brunt of gross human rights abuse under the system of apartheid and racial capitalism. And I realise, and that is reinforced by the stories I have heard this morning that there are millions of people who have suffered much worse treatment than I have at the hands of security forces, the police, and the agents of the system. And that made me to really hesitate whether my story was appropriate in terms of the commission's terms of reference about gross violation of human rights. I also felt afraid to tell the story because it will be digging into old wounds. My own and my family's especially. But my friends have encouraged me and also I believe that the TRC's records would - they would not be complete somehow if they did not also reflect the ways in which the whole apartheid system created havoc in the lives of ordinary white people as well though people who were supposed to be benefitting from this system of power and privilege. And it is because I had struggled to make sense of my own experiences that I thought that maybe it is important to try and say these things publicly. And I would like to say that I am not telling this story to lay blame on anyone or to accuse anyone, because I think all the people that I will speak about, we were all victims of the system in some way. I think whites in particular, myself included, we were really overwhelmingly encouraged by the social system to see other people, and especially black people as being inferior to ourselves, less than human and to the extent that we were sucked into the system, perhaps in part through not being exposed to different values. We
became alienated within ourselves and alienated from our fellow human beings. And that's a very painful condition for human beings, especial if those other people that you are alienated from are your own family. I am not trying to say that I think white people had no choices, and that they were just totally determined by the apartheid system, but I am trying to understand how a system can take a family who loved it each and that they can be torn apart as a result of that system. And when I was young, I was the apple of my father's eye. But we were so torn apart that we could not reconcile before he died. And recently I have reflected on the fact that when the Nationalist Government came to power and became to legislate apartheid, just after the Second World War, my father had recently returned from Italy, where he had been a prison of war. When I see the trauma that my husband went through as a result of his experiences of being in the MK and being in the war in KwaZulu-Natal, then I think my father also went through that kind of trauma in wartime, and he didn't want to talk about the war. I think for him and for many others, this must have created a climate in this country where there was very deep personal and social instability and that made really fertile ground for apartheid ideology to take root in people's minds. So, I grew in a social system in which apartheid was just ingrained in the fabric of our every day lives, at home, in the relations with the servants, in the use of language at home, in the village. My mother didn't like to rub shoulders with African farm workers in the streets. And I was like a fish in water, I couldn't recognise that water that I was swimming in. I was living in a small
country village, I attended Dutch Reformed Church and Sunday School services. My father worked in the police force. He had control over African labourers on his farm. I didn't really know what apartheid was all about, I just lived it, experienced it. I didn't like the harsh treatment of servants. I would hear the siren at night, it was sa curfew for African people, but I didn't understand what that meant. And I also remember things like if we were travelling from Pietermaritzburg back to Richmond, sometimes little black children would be standing by the side of the road with little bowls of blackberries, bramble berries that they have picked, that they wanted to sell people, and my father would stop the car and they would come running because they thought that we wanted to buy those blackberries, and my brothers and my father encouraging them, they would jump out of the car and chase those little children, and those little children would just run and the blackberries would go flying. And it was when I asked my father, "Why are you doing that?", he said, "No, they are breaking the law and they are danger to the traffic". But it was like a sport, and I hated that thing. So, that is just a little illustration of the kind of experiences that I grew up with. And my school education gave me no critic of apartheid. I still remember when Dr Verwoerd was assassinated, I was in about Standard Seven or Eight, and I have a diary recording in which I wrote how sad I was, what a loss it was to our nation that this gentleman, because I can see his photograph, colour photograph in the newspaper with his blue eyes smiling, he was like the father of South Africa, and that what a loss it was that he had been killed. I
think my English teacher tried to signal some how that this was not really the real picture, but she was not allowed to discuss politics and so still I did not have a clear picture. It was only later student politics and when I was studying at university that I began to be exposed to information about apartheid that enabled me to begin to see the system for what it was. And I think I am very grateful to those students who did have the courage to stand up and oppose apartheid at that time. I also went on overseas travel on an American Field Service Scholarship, and that helped me to begin to develop a different perspective from the other members of my family, who did not have these same opportunities. I remember before I went there was a dominee from the Dutch Reformed Church who came to visit me and he took me out to tea and I think maybe he was a member of the Broederbond, but he tried to persuade me not to go to America because it was not going to be in the interest of the country. But, you know, to my credit I think - to their credit, my parents encouraged me to go, although I knew they had misgivings about it, and later my mother said, yes, she should not have allowed me to go because I had changed so much when I came back. When I was elected on to the university SRC, in 1972, I was visited very soon after that at home in Richmond by an agent who tried to recruit me as an informer for BOSS, the bureau for State Security that was operating at that time. I think again it was to his credit, my mother would not leave me alone with that man, he sat in the lounge with us, and then he said to the man, "But, tell me now, you say you are working for BOSS and you show me your card, and you want my daughter to work
for you to be an informer, but can you be sure that she is not already working for the security branch?", because at that time BOSS and the security branch were not having good cooperation and he said, well no, he can't be sure about that. So, my father said, "Then I don't think you can try to recruit my daughter to work for you", and at the time I didn't appreciate his strategy because I didn't want in any sense to have it implied that I would be working for security branch or BOSS or anybody else. But I can see now it was quite a clever strategy and it was to my father's credit because he did not want me to be sucked into that system.
Mrs Magwaza, you have every right to appear before the commission, so don't race yourself, you know. Give yourself a break and just have a drink of water. And then just proceed normally. All right. --- Thank you. So, after that even though I was not very politically active in a direct way, my contributions were more through education through offering teaching in night schools in Edendale and through working in voluntary organisations to build a clinic at Msinge(?) and so on. But my political views began to be a source of division between myself and my parents and my brothers and sister. If I offered a different viewpoint or I challenged people's racist attitudes at home, then I was the one who was in the wrong, I was rocking the boat. Why didn't I just keep quiet instead of causing conflict at home? After that I started teaching in Greytown and I recall some minor harassment, probably it was the security branch. Friends and I were seen as lefties on that staff and there were Broederbond members on the staff, I
realised later. So, at night, unknown people would come and throw stones on the roof of the farmhouse where we lived. And one day they tampered with the engine of my car, so that I couldn't start my car. I remember, I got a speeding fine after that. Well, in 1978 they then legislated a national register of teachers, which white teachers were supposed to sign on to and I decided not to sign up, because I believed that we should have just one single education system in the country, we should not be divided in that way. And I saw the register as being a way of exercising political control over teachers. So, at the end of 1978, I resigned. I taught for a year without signing, then I resigned, and I went overseas. And I was overseas for about four and a half years and that was really the first time that I saw film footage of what happened to young people in the Soweto Uprisings of 1976, and it was really terrible. It was very shocking and very disturbing. So, after I had come back to South Africa in 1983, that was when I met my husband. I did not want to go back into the education system, so I started doing freelance acting in Durban, and ironically we were both cast in the play Romeo and Juliet. It was a matric set book at that time. The play was touring township schools and I was Juliet and he was Romeo, but we used the South African situation as a parallel for the story, and we used our own names as well. And everywhere we went, the school students just used to wait for that moment when a black Romeo kisses a white Juliet, because this was still forbidden fruit. Pax and I used to talk a lot and he told me about what was happening in his township, and then he took me into Lamontville and that
was when I discovered what it was like for township people to be living in a state of siege and war, with army and police vehicles on every corner, roadblocks and vehicle searches. On more than one occasion my car was searched and I was often subjected to the soldier's attentions, they would either assume that I was not safe in the company of a black man, or else I was there for suspicious reasons. Lamontville was in chaos and we heard something about that this morning. The beerhall and the houses of the councillors who were hated for being corrupt were just burnt out, they were black shells. I was really horrified by the stories Pax was telling me about suspected informers being attacked and killed by township people, and again township people just being shot at randomly on the streets at night by the police and the army. It was like a nightmare in that time. It was real, but it wasn't real somehow. And I didn't know at that time that Pax, besides trying to challenge the system through drama, through the play, "Asinamali" that he was doing, he was also a member of the MK, but I was not aware of that. And he was busy with underground activities all the time. My own beliefs were in non-violence. But around me was just violence everywhere. And if I had known at that time I sometimes wonder whether our relationship would have persisted or not. I didn't tell my family about my relationship with Pax. When we became intimate, we had to be quite secretive about it, because the Immorality Act was still in force, although the State had much bigger things to worry about, so they weren't really spending a lot of time chasing people like us. The security branch came one night and searched the communal
house that we were sharing with friends. They refused to identify themselves properly and I was very angry when they took a friend away, so I followed them in my car and they went into KwaMashu and dodged and dived in the streets and lost me. So, I thought I am not just going to let it rest there, and I went to the police station and reported that my friend had been abducted. And they even sent a police van out with me, but of course we didn't find anyone. And later, fortunately, that friend was released. Then in 1984, Pax was arrested. At that time there was political upheaval in Lamontville, after Mzizi Dube had been assassinated. Mzizi Dube had been leading popular resistance to corrupt councillors and rent increases in Lamontville. These rent increases were seen as an attempt to force the residence, who had section 10 rights, to get out of Lamontville and move into Umlazi, which was controlled by KwaZulu and Inkatha. Pax was a follower of Mzizi Dube and he was a key actor in Mbongeni Ngema's play, "Asinamali". And he was largely responsible for the scripting of that play. The play itself, he used the rent boycott slogan as its title, and it was really exposing the police brutality and the other political realities of the set up in Lamontville. After Mzizi Dube's assassination, many people who were seen as spies in Lamontville, were attacked and some were killed. And Pax was arrested while he was engaged in a performance of "Asinamali" in a church hall at the time, and it was in connection with one such an attack. When he did not appear at the Upstairs Theatre for one of our school shows, I had to start hunting to find him, and I had to hunt a lot, because each police station they sent me to
another police station. Then he was released on bail. And when his case came to trial, I was pregnant. In February 1985, when I was three months pregnant, Pax was found guilty as an associate to murder. And he was sentenced to an 8 year term of imprisonment. He, and others, would have been defended by Mrs Victoria Mxenge, but at the last minute this support was withdrawn, there was some kind of internal thing around funding or whatever, and instead he was defended by an inexperienced pro Deo advocate. And at that time the case was not really argued as a political case as such. When he was convicted and sentenced, I was stunned because I had thought his chances of acquittal were reasonably good. And it also meant that I was left on my own to face a situation without Pax' support. And for him, the though of him to be in prison for eight years, it was like a huge void. So, of course, my family did not know about my situation at that time. When I was pregnant I then started travelling long distances to visit Pax in prison. At first they put him in Standerton Gaol, which is far away. I left home at 4 o'clock one morning with some friends and some of his family, my sister-in-law, and we drove six hours to Standerton, and when we got there they refused to let me see him. They would only allow the others to see him. I had a big fight with the prison commander and I told him that I was going to report him to Pretoria. Straight after that they transferred Pax to ... (inaudible) ... and the commander there was a black officer. And the irony of it was that there it was apartheid working in our favour, because I was an "mlungu", I was allowed to have contact visits with him.
So, instead of us just talking through the bars, we used to be able to have contact visits. But our letters to each other were censored, anything political in the letters was taken out. This was a very lonely time of life for me, because my relationship with Pax was still in quite a formative stage, and I wanted to share my pregnancy with him. I wanted us to be able to face the world together, but we could not do that. My parents and brothers and sister didn't know anything about this aspect of my life. They didn't know that Pax was in gaol. I had by then told my sister that I was pregnant. It was only many years later that I told my sister about Pax being in gaol, and all those things. Where my pregnancy was concerned, my brothers and sister did not stand by me at all. They didn't want my parents ever to know about my pregnancy, they were just - they believed that my father would have a heart attack, because he had one when I was in the States before, and he was a very excitable man. So, they pressured me to have an abortion, or to leave the country, or to go very far away without explaining anything to my parents, and I refused to do those things. Then after Maboya was born, I hoped maybe some how my brother and sister would try to mediate things in a way with my parents, to try and soften the blow for them, but they didn't do that. Maybe it was asking for too much. And anyway maybe mediation would not have helped, I think the situation was a traumatic one for them as well. Pax was still in prison when Maboya was born in 1985. It was Pax who gave him the name and the name is expressive of our wish that Pax would be able to return and we could be together again. I was very lucky to have the support of
a close friend when he was born. I told the doctor at Addington Hospital that Pax' parents would visit me, because they had welcomed me into their family and they were very supportive of me. And I didn't want them to experience any unpleasantness if they came to visit me in hospital. So, I was put in a room on my own, near the ward entrance, and the nurses some how, I think they tended to forget about me. One of the nurses later told me that there had been a big debate amongst all the nurses, some of them saying I had no right to bring this baby into the world because he was an outcast, and others saying that the fault was with the system and I was not to blame. And this made me to wonder whether the mix up with blood samples that happened after Maboya was born was just an accident and carelessness, or whether it was actually something deliberate. I have an A minus blood group, and Maboya is positive, which means that I should have an anti-D injection within 72 hours, so that my next baby would not be born a rhesus baby. But what happened was that when Maboya was three days old the doctor examined him and said he was healthy, he could be discharged, he could go home. I still had to stay in hospital a bit. Then I noticed that he had a running eye and a rash and I asked the nurse to check it. And she took him to a different doctor and that doctor came back to me and he said, "Your baby has got very very serious anaemia, we can't discharge him, we must give him a blood transfusion and antibiotics". This was just within a few hours of him having been said he was fit to go home. And it was only when they checked my blood and checked his blood to give him the blood transfusion that they
discovered that he didn't have a negative blood group which is what the file said he had, he had a positive blood group. So, I then had the anti-D injection, but it came later than I was told it should have been. So, those are the kinds of things that just made me ask whether it was just carelessness, because I had heard a lot of horror stories about hospitals, or whether it was something worse than that. Pax' parents visited me in hospital, they were very supportive, and many of my friends were very supportive, but I had no contact with my own family, except for my sister, who came to visit me after I had left hospital. And I think she was - she came to be able to go and report to my mother, does this baby look a bit white or does he not look a bit white, because my mother had hidden the whole thing from my father. She didn't want to tell him anything. Then after Maboya was born, I took him to visit Pax and he saw his son for the first time in gaol. My father took the news about his grandchild really very badly. I went home without telling them that I was coming and I took the baby with me. And after that I realised I would not go home again without being invited. After that my parents moved from Richmond, where they were living, to their farm near Hella Hella. It was my impression that they were trying to move away from people who might hear about the situation to avoid the social stigma which they felt. My parents never accepted my choice of Pax as a partner, they never once met him, or spoke to him, except for the odd accidental telephone call my mother would phone and he would happen to pick up the phone, and then she would say, "Can I speak to Marie Odendaal" and if she didn't know who
he was and I think she was trying to deny the existence our relationship. They just could not overcome their apartheid beliefs which were also so strongly promoted by the Dutch Reformed Church. I think they thought that what I had done was wrong, it was disgusting, it was shameful, it was disgraceful, and it was also still illegal at that time, because the Immorality Act had not yet been repealed. And they felt that I had brought shame and disgrace on them and that was made visible in the person of my child. My father particularly rejected me.
Take your time. --- Thank you. I think rejecting me caused him very very deep conflict and grief, because I know that he really loved me. And he did not treat me harshly. He was still generous, he would give me vegetables from his garden and so on, but there was this big barrier between us. He was never again able to respond to me warmly and freely. My mother also loved me, and she was kind to Maboya and she really tried to treat him as a welcome grandson. She also could not come to terms with my choice. Her first commitment, understandably, was to my father, because he was her partner, and because my visits really upset him, I could only make an occasional prearranged visit. So ... (inaudible) ...
(END OF SIDE A)
4B/0 (START OF SIDE B)
... my mother came rushing down when she realised it was me and so we just had to go into the kitchen and have a cup of tea, and then drive away again, and Maboya still asking when are we going to see the cows, because I
promised him he would see the cows on the farm. I think my mother suffered terribly emotionally in that whole situation. When Maboya was about 10 months old, Pax came out of gaol on bail pending an appeal. At that time from when he was three months old I was living with friends, Anita Kromberg and Richard Steele, and they were involved in the end conscription campaign and conscientious objector support group. They were on the run from security branch at that time. So, I was working, I was running a winter school for the career information centre at the time and the security branch and the police came at night just before the winter school was due to start. Richard and Anita were not there. And I was not cooperative with them, but they went away again. After two weeks Pax had just come out of gaol, it was our first evening of being together again, because his first two evenings he spent at home in Lamontville with his parents, and then he came to the house in Bellair. And we were sitting in the lounge and he heard the sound of an engine and he said, "That's the cops", because his ear was tuned, he could recognise it. So, I quickly phoned a friend and then they arrived and it was the military intelligence and the security police. And they came on the pretext of searching the house for drugs, because they said the next door neighbours had complained about drugs. And it was very ironic because the next door neighbour used to smoke dagga with the police in the garden and here were they coming to our house. So, I remember at that time we had Nusa education charter campaign pamphlets and we had ECC pamphlets and we hid them quickly under the mattress, the baby's mattress. So, when the police came in, I was very
uncooperative to them and they decided to detain me and I know that they did it merely out of spite because they spoke to each other in Afrikaans, maybe thinking that I could not understand them, but I understood them and they were just taking me in to cool me off. So, I was held in solitary confinement at Westville Prison for 10 days under state of emergency. There was only one other woman in the whole block of cells at the other end of the corridor. When the warders realised that we were communicating with each other, they moved her away, and I was left alone in that cell block. I was not physically ill-treated and I was only subjected to one mild interrogation by the person who detained me, his name was Erasmus. I was reminded of that by Jeremy Radledge(?) because he was detained and questioned by the same man. I am not sure of his rank, whether he was captain or what. But he said to Jeremy he complained about me after the first visit to the house, that I had been cheeky and if it had not been for the baby he would have detained me, and then on the second visit he did detain me. So, the only thing I was worried about, I didn't know how long they would keep me and Maboya was supposed to be receiving medication and he had to visit the hospital for a check up on his foot. So, I didn't know really how long I would be kept there. And then Pax succeeded in obtaining a visit and he brought Maboya and just 10 minutes after I saw them I was then called from my cell and told to get my things together and then I was driver of the vicinity of my home and released. So, after about a year of Pax being out on bail and reporting regularly to the police station, he then lost his appeal. I was devastated by that, and I will never forget having
to drive him back to gaol in ... (inaudible) ... driving him myself. I was really alone again without him, but knowing that I didn't really know the real truth about the terrible experiences that he was being subjected to in gaol. Then I was very shocked one evening when the lawyer phoned me and told me that he had been granted a second appeal because the first one was in the Bloemfontein Supreme Court and the second one was going to be in Pietermaritzburg, or vice versa, I am a bit confused about it now. The one was national and the other was Natal. So, then he was released on bail again after about a year and in that time we moved up to Pietermaritzburg and he had to commute to Durban three times a week to report to the police station, which was very costly. The prosecutor would not condone an application for him to report in Pietermaritzburg. He could not get work under those conditions and we struggled to survive financially. In September 1989 I received a phone call from my mother, she sounded terrible. I thought my father had died, but she told me that my oldest brother had been killed. She never recovered from this grief, she was very very bitter about it afterwards. He had been murdered by two African men. The defence claimed in court that he had accosted the men for climbing through a farm fence and threatened them with a rifle and that they had acted in self-defence when they attacked him with an axe. When I recall his attitudes to black people, I think I can have some idea of how this confrontation might have come about. And maybe those men hated white men for the treatment they had received at their hands. I had only seen this brother once, Willem,
in the four years since Maboya was born, and that was by accident, because he didn't want to have anything to do with me at all. My father had been very ill in hospital with diarrhoea and a psychologist told me that it was depression causing the diarrhoea. And I had bumped into my brother at the hospital there. And at his funeral it was also the first time that I saw his children, who were my nieces, of whom I had been very very fond, and it was the first time they knew that I had a child. It was the first time that they got an idea of why I had become the invisible member of the family. Even recently, a month or so ago, their mother told me that my oldest niece doesn't want to come to a family reunion if we try to have one, because I am married to a black man and it was black people who killed her father and then later her grandparents. So, of course Pax could not go with me to my brother's funeral, because this would have been like a red rag to a bull. After my brother's death, we decided to have another child and to get married. Up until then I had not wanted to get married, because - or I didn't want to have another child, because I didn't want to risk being all on my own again if he lost his appeal, but it seemed as if we were just at the mercy of the State, we were just waiting for the State to decide our lives, and we didn't want to live that way. So, we got married in March 1990, in Lamontville, and I was five months pregnant at the time with my second baby. Nobody from my family came to our wedding. Four months later, on July 7th, 1990, my parents were murdered on their farm at Hella Hella. I was visiting Pax' family in Lamontville when I received a phone call from my landlady. I can remember
very clearly that that was a lovely sunny winter's day, and in the morning I had thought it was a beautiful day, I wish I could visit my parents on the farm, but I knew that I couldn't do that, especially not being pregnant. And I remember we talked about my parents in the car going down to Durban. So, the next day a friend drove me to the farm and I saw the bloodstains in the road and on the farm house floor where my parents had been battered to death. I also saw my sister and my second brother, Piet, for the first time since Willem's funeral. Although I had visited my parents once or twice with Maboya, after I was pregnant with Nsigeya I had not been free to visit them. It was as if this pregnancy and our marriage were rubbing salt in their wounds. It signalled that our relationship was permanent, it wasn't just some kind of a bad mistake. So, my parents and I were not reconciled before they died. In their will they disinherited me from any share in the bulk of their estate, although they left me, and I believe it is my mother who left it to me, some money and a share of furniture and the piano I had when I was a child. It is still a source of pain to me that we were not reconciled. I also see that the apartheid system contributed in many ways to the situation which made them a target for attack and vulnerable victims. Their attackers stole weapons from the house. At the time there was conflict between the ANC and the IFP in the Pateni area, and I think maybe that is what the weapons were taken for. My parents were amongst the first of the farming community in the midlands area to be killed. The farming community, especially elderly people, have become a target for those people who want to continue with
violence. The day after my parents were murdered, our second child was born by caesarian section. We named our baby Nsikelelo, which means blessing or comfort. As with my brother's funeral, I could not go to my parents' funeral with my husband and children at my side. The situation in Richmond was very tense, the local farmers were meeting, so we heard, and Pax might not have been safe to set foot there. So, I left Nsigi in hospital and I went to my parents' funeral with friends. In December 1990 Pax heard that he had lost his final appeal, and he decided to go into exile in the Transkei rather than going back to prison. I was alone again looking after two children and a baby and I found it difficult to be a good parent. The children were negatively affected by the whole situation, especially Maboya. I had to tel him not to talk about daddy to other people, because I was afraid that Pax could be caught. Although the police did not come and question me about his whereabouts, I was aware that they might be watching me. This feeling was reinforced by an odd burglary of our home one day, when a burglar guard was forced and a gift of liquor and glasses removed from the lounge coffee table. The hi-fi speakers thrown on the floor, but nothing else taken. It did not seem like a real burglary. While Pax was in exile two men were brought to trial for my parents' murder and I attended the case. The police investigation, which was handled by the Pietermaritzburg Murder and Robbery Squad was very poorly conducted. For instance, although the suspects were arrested very early, there were long delays before ID parades were held. Also, the freshly cut log with which my parents were beaten to death was not
weighed and measured at the time. This was told to me just the other day by Captain du Plessis, who was the station commander at Richmond at the time. When the case came to court many months later, that log was just a dried up stick that was not heavy enough or not considered heavy enough to inflict a fatal injury on a human skull. The induna on my father's farm, who was the chief witness, Mr Willie Shezi, had told Pax and me that he had been beaten up by the police who suspected him of being involved in the murder. Mr Shezi also died before the case came to court, so the chief witness was gone. The two accused men were found not guilty. It seems to me that that was merely on technical grounds. But I accept that the verdict was fair if there was not sufficient evidence to prove that they were guilty, and to this day I don't know who murdered my parents, and whether they did so because they hated my parents specifically or they hated white people in general, or just because they wanted those weapons. I know that my parents were old and defenceless and did not deserve to die in that brutal way. In the meantime, I continued to try to fight for Pax to be granted indemnity while he remained in the Transkei, in exile. In this we were assisted by Advocate P... (inaudible) ... Maduna of the ANC. Advocate Maduna informed us that he was able to obtain a gentleman's agreement with the State that if Pax would hand himself over he would have to serve 30 days in gaol, after which he would be released and his case closed. We did not know whether to accept this deal, because we did not feel we could trust the State and it was like asking Pax to walk into the lion's den, to go back into gaol. But it
seemed untenable for him just to remain on the run indefinitely, so he surrendered himself after nine months in exile, and he was put in Westville Gaol, and released at the end of 30 days. As far as we are aware he was never formally granted amnesty and he still has a criminal record to his name. It would make a difference to all of us if we could know that he has formally been granted indemnity. Since 1992 we have tried to establish a normal family life. This has not been easy. Pax suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. He began drinking a lot and he could not get a sense of direction, and I also had to work through a lot of trauma. But we have been very fortunate to have access to a psychologist. Maboya also, at one stage, had to have treatment for depression. In October last year, Pax succeeded with the help of Sanca in stopping drinking and he is now doing a training course in arts administration, which may lead to job prospects for him. Although I am reconciled with my sister, Fransie and her family, I have not seen my brother Piet or any of his family since my parents' funeral. I do not feel bitter towards any of them, least of all my parents, whom I believe were the best parents it was in their power to be to me when I was growing up, they were loving parents. I don't know, I don't have an inside picture of what kind of a policeman my father was, I don't know how he treated black people, I don't know about the many things he had to do to uphold the system of apartheid. But I have a sense that I have made my peace with him, especially after I viewed this series about De Kok on TV this past week and I thought about my father and I saw that my father was really, I mean, I could not
even begin to make a comparison between these two men when I see how policemen in this country have been subjected to the propaganda of the Nationalist Government and structures like the Dutch Reformed Church, not only policemen, but Afrikaans people in general, everyone. I think we all have been victims, everyone in my family, the people who murdered my brother, the people who murdered my parents. Despite Pax and my hardships, we have been very fortunate in many ways, we have received support from many people and I think this would be a very one sided testimony if I did not really emphasize that that is the hope for our country that so many people reach other to each other and reject the system and have shown love and have rejected racism. And that would be my appeal to my fellow South Africans, black and white, and especially to my fellow Afrikaners, is to reject racism, to reject any ideology which tells you that other people are less human than you are, but to see yourself in that other person when you look at that other person, and to see that other person within you. So, we are hopeful now as a family that our lives will begin to take a turn for the better and that we will be able to make a contribution to the building of a more peaceful, tolerant and just society. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Mrs Magwaza. A number of issues emerged from your testimony. One of them is very deep hurt, deep hurt about what happened to you, what happened to your husband, but especially what happened between you and your family. I think that you are very lucky and that it is wonderful that you had your sister's support and continue to have your sister's support. But
I am wondering that in unearthing and opening the wounds, if in fact you want to consider some kind of way to help you reunite with your family, if that is possible, because one of the things that we do is to encourage reconciliation. And I am just wondering about your thoughts about that? --- My sister did tell me recently that my brother had said to her that he wanted to see me again, but it seems that some how he is afraid of that. And even I felt nervous. I phoned my sister to tell her that I was going to testify today, and I felt very nervous about inviting her to come, but I did ask her and then she said she would think about it, and she phoned me back again and said that she didn't want to dig into the wounds again. She said that she had heard from my uncle, who had overheard it from some policeman, that the men who murdered my parents were dead, that they were killed in a shootout with the police. I don't know if this is true or not, but she said what she is trying to do now is to strive forward to the future. I don't know how my brother would react to the idea of someone else mediating as it were a reconciliation between us, but I am hopeful that we might be able to be reconciled as a family.
May I ask you a rather personal question and hopefully not insensitive question, how do you feel now that you have been able to talk about this? --- I - it took a lot of courage to come and speak in public today, because of the feeling that you mustn't drag your family's dirty laundry into the public, and especially for instance if your parents are already dead, it might seem to my brother and sister that I am being disrespectful and that
I am doing a wrong thing in creating a bad image of my parents and of my family in other people's eyes, but I want to stress that that is not my intention and that was not my motivation in speaking. I really wanted to just show how a system like this can destroy people's lives and if in testifying publicly I am succeeded in doing that, then I feel that it is - it has been worth doing. So, I am feeling positive about that.
It takes a great deal of courage, as you say, to talk particularly about family problems, in public. I would be remiss if I didn't ask you how your children were coping with all of this? --- I think they are - they are doing better since my husband stopped drinking alcohol and we have been stabilized more as a family. They are coming on a lot better than they were before, although some times I still feel like Maboya in particular, because he was exposed to a lot of things at a very early age, that maybe he can quite easily become depressed, but we are encouraging him and I think they are doing okay. Thank you.
Other than in directly asking the commission to look into greater reconciliation, is there anything else that you might wish from the commission? --- I don't know if it is possible for the commission to investigate whether my husband could be granted an indemnity.
Noted. Thank you very much and I will hand over to the chairperson. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Questions? Marie, thank you for coming forward today to share your story with us. What does emerge from it is the fact that there is a huge divide still in this country which does need to be bridged and
that it is only education about each other, about the differences that there are, racial, cultural, and with some kind of education for tolerance and respect that we will be able to become one nation. Your story makes us acutely aware of that, and we feel your pain. We are able to investigate whether your husband can be granted an indemnity and we will certainly put that on the list for a task that will need to be followed. Thank you for coming today. --- Thank you very much.
VIRGINIA MBATHA (Sworn States) (Through Interpreter)
CHAIRMAN: We have asked Ms Tiny Mayer, a member of this committee, to assist you with your evidence. Tiny?
MS T MAYER: Thank you, Madam Chair. I greet you, Mrs Mbatha. --- I don't know whether you will understand me, because I will be speaking Xhosa, but if you don't understand.
I can hear you. There are some many stories that have been related to us today. And as it is now we have got lumps in our throat and we do understand that also your story is one of the most painful stories. Now, will you just give us a brief background. You are going to tell us about your harassment and detention up to such time that you felt like a hunted animal. --- I also greet the commissioners, as well as the audience. My name is Virginia Ntozethu(?) Mkwanazi. I was born at Dlangezwe. My mother is from the Dube family. My mother was married to Reverend Shembe. She left Reverend Shembe and went to get married to the Mkwanazi's. That's when she gave birth to us. We grew up as children who had problems, to such an extent that my brother, elder brother, Riot Mkwanazi, was involved in politics and he ended up being incarcerated in Robben Island. And we grew under those circumstances. And I, myself, realised that all the chances and the opportunities that I was supposed to have got I didn't really get. Then I ask myself as to why my brother had joined politics, but when I realised that I couldn't go on with my education, I realised that my brother was fighting a battle. Then at that stage I decided to give myself in. Then in 1963, that's when I had just had my first born, and I looked at the situation
critically and I wanted to follow my brother's footsteps. After quite some time I realised that I was deep into politics, but there was no one who knew about my involvement. And I did not want to be disturbed, nor seen, so I wanted to engage myself in some other business so that I would conduct my political activities underground. I started selling liquor, so that I could not be recognised as a politician. And then in 1982, I suspected that we were suspects, because a certain man from my home was arrested. And they did not ask me anything about this very same man who was arrested, and I told him that I knew nothing because I was just selling liquor. But they followed the matter up. And then in 1982 I saw many cars arriving at my place. These were police cars as well as police dogs. And they said I should point out the weapons. They got into the house. I had quite a very big house at the F Section, Mazakele. At that time it wasn't a usual practice that a person would have such a big house and they used to call my house "Hyperama" because of its size. I was expectant with Nkananipo, when the boers came to my house. When they got to my house they ransacked the house, checking and searching the weapons, and I was highly expectant and that time, I didn't know what to do. But I was very sure that there were no weapons. They searched the whole house, they couldn't find any. And they used to frequent my place, they would even come at night, we could not sleep, because they used to come several times. My husband was not working at that time and we felt that we were not safe at that particular place. And even the comrades who used to come to my place were no longer safe, because the boers
used to frequent my place looking for weapons. Then in 1984 we decided that we should sell the house and move to another place called Lindelani, where we could live peacefully, because it was a place that was quite closer to town and we were able to send the children to school and also work. We moved to Lindelani. Within a few days, I think it was about a week, Shabalala came to Lindelani and he had also bought a stand. He built his house. And some others who needed help, who came to build at that place also requested help from us. But along the way Shabalala wanted to be the boss of that place, he wanted to take everything under his control. We stayed for quite some time and some things were happening in Lindelani. And we could not do anything about whatever was happening, but we used to conduct certain meetings with the UDF ... (inaudible) ...
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... announcing that there was going to be a youth meeting and the youth would come. And we would talk about the main objectives of this league as well as the UDF organisation, about the oppression that we were going through. And later on Shabalala realised that my family was involved in politics, because whenever he used to call the youth, nobody would go to his meetings, and we also wouldn't go to his meetings because we felt we were not obliged. We were citizens and we had a right to stay in that place. But Shabalala later on, when we were attacked, he said he knew nothing about the attack, because on that particular day he left having given out instructions that we should be attacked, especially the
business people, because I also had a shop and Shabalala had given an instruction that I be attacked. I think at that time he went to Newcastle. It was on a Sunday, February 1985, at two in the afternoon I was at the shop. I had a very big tuckshop. Because the community of Lindelani didn't have any shops nearby. I had somebody announcing over the loudspeaker saying, "Mrs Mbatha, get out of that place". And the children were scared, they were saying we were going to die. And we already heard that people had died and their shops had been looted and they had taken some of the possessions as well as stocks from the shop. I decided to go outside to hear as to what they wanted from me. When I got out I saw a cloud of dust and I saw two groups carrying weapons. They were carrying tin stuff, foodstuff and all sorts of things that you can get from the shop. And I stood in front of Khanyile. Khanyile was the one who was leading this group and he was giving the orders as to who should be attacked. And he was the one who was responsible for all these announcements. I stood in front of them and Khanyile said it in the loudspeaker and said, "Today we have come to the Mbatha family, Lambatha(?) has said blood must spill, but now we are carrying quite a lot of things and we would have to go and off-load all the stocks that we have, and we would come back to fetch some" and they were starting to quarrel, they wanted to take my possessions. One was saying I am going to take the generator, the other one was saying I am going to take a fridge. And by then somebody came and I was amongst this group called "Amabutho" and this person from the car got off his car and approached us. Then Khanyile said the
instruction was that they should come and deal with me. David asked as to whether that was the law or the rule that a person should be attacked, we want to be told as to what we have done, what was the motive for the attack, and Khanyile looked down upon my husband. Then he told him that they were coming back. When the first group moved away from my house and the second one followed with the stocks that they had taken from the other shops, I said this car should come home and when my husband drove the car into my yard, I took quite a few things. I took my TV, I took my fridges and I left the three others. I took my children with. And I told them that as we are going we don't know where we are heading for, but we are going to stay in the forest because we had no other place to run to. I told my husband that we are going to stay in the forest. We want the world to see what is happening to us because we have been writing to Buthelezi about the things that were happening in Lindelani. We haven't yet got an answer. Now, this attack is taking place on us personally. Now, we should publicize this and make it known so that the world may know. We drove to Ntuzuma Training Centre at the forest near the road. We off-loaded the children. We were not armed, we had absolutely nothing with us. We stayed next to the road. Unfortunately my generator had gone in for service. Then certain dominees came. They brought a tent and they said we should just cover ourselves. They asked us what the problem was. They said they wanted to accommodate us. And we said they should just help us pray.
I did not want to disturb you, may I lead you with questions? You moved away from your place and you stayed
next to the road, you were helped and given a tent. How long was that? --- It was two weeks. We were staying for two weeks next to the road.
What helped you move from that place? --- The Council of Churches, Daikonia offered us some refuge. They took us to Brighton Beach.
How long did you stay there? --- We stayed there, but the boers were always phoning us and asking what are the baboons doing there. And we did not feel safe.
What sort of place is that Brighton Beach? --- It was a double storey house. I don't know whose house it was, but I think it belonged to the church.
You also speak about a member of parliament, Mr Mhlongo, from Mapumulo. --- When we were staying at Ntuzuma Training, that is the forest, Shabalala came at night on a Monday. He was driving a car and he was being escorted, they stood by the road and the house was illuminated outside but inside it was dark. They went away and came back in the morning, and Shabalala told us that he had come during the night and that he foresaw that we were going to shoot him because he did not know why we had left Lindelani and he knew nothing about our leaving Lindelani. I told him that he was supposed to know because Amabutho did not just act all by themselves, they were given specific instructions to do certain things. Whenever people have been pointed out to them, they would go to attack those particular persons. Then Mhlongo who was an MP from Mapumulo, Mhlongo came to me in the forest where I was staying. he said he had been sent by Buthelezi to come and ask us as to why we were staying in
the forest, then I explained it to him. Then it was said that the minister had said that we should move away from that place, we should take the children and he wanted us to move to Section G in KwaMashu. I declined the offer because we are not the first ones who were being harassed by members of Amabutho and some lost their lives and we do not know how. And I said to him I totally decline the offer because I did not trust them. Then we moved to Brighton Beach and we could not stay there because of the telephone calls that we kept on receiving. And Reverend Shembe said I should go back home. Then we went to Shembe's place, that's where we stayed.
Let's come to the date of October 1986. That's where we went to Samora's funeral. When we came back from Samora's funeral, we discovered that we were not quite accepted because we were from Samora's funeral. Then on the 11th of December, as a person who was recruiting the youth to join MK, then on the morning of the 11th Mrs Mbatha came to my place in the morning and she had come to ask whether there was any person who was going to Swaziland. I said to her I was not sure but I knew that there was a group of ten which was going to Swaziland. So, she wanted to take them with because she wanted to give them some messages and some certain things, so that they could take them to Swaziland because she did not have money. We made arrangements to meet at a certain place just before the boys had to go. Now, when I was standing there, waiting for the youth to come and get some money from me, they took the money. They made a loose change and we took them to Durban Station and I gave them certain things that they had to take to
Swaziland. And I told one of the youths that they were going to go with Mrs Mbatha, as well as Ngcaba. I warned him to tell the other youths and I did not want them to go the same time. Now, I wanted - because I avoided raising suspicion. They got into the kombi one by one and I had already given Mrs Mbatha to pay the driver.
Who is Mbatha? --- Mrs Mbatha always used to help me whenever we were getting youths who had to skip through the border. The youths went on that very same night. It was going to be the morning of the 12th the following day. Then they came and they took my husband with. Thereafter they came to fetch me. When I got there, they said I should write my biography, as to who I am, how involved am I with the ANC. Basson stressed that if I didn't talk, I was going to sit on the cement up till such time that I write whatever they wanted. I was made to sleep on the cement and I ended up having arthritis the whole of my body, because it was said that my bones had got cold.
How long did you stay in gaol? --- I stayed for six months.
At that time did they ill-treat you? --- They interrogated me and I was being tied to chairs. They asked me about Samora Machel's death, as to how his ... (inaudible) ... were and they said I should explain in detail as to what had happened and they asked me whether I knew how he got the accident. But what traumatized me was that at the time I was in solitary confinement Mr Albert came to tell me that I was very lucky, because they had fetched a certain man to come and testify and they had killed him.
Did you know Shadrack Mapumulo? --- Yes, I knew Shadrack Mapumulo because I was working with him. From there my health deteriorated. I do not know why they were saying this, and I found that it was true, they had actually killed Shadrack Mapumulo, because we could speak with certain criminals and they told me that Shadrack Mapumulo had died.
In your statement you also mention and specified certain things that they used to do. --- They would take me to Bayhead and I would have my hands handcuffed to my back. I was not allowed to have fresh clothing for change. Even when I was standing and when I was menstruating, they would not allow me to have sanitary pads, and they told me that I should go to the toilet. I stayed in solitary confinement and my child at that time was sucking, I was breastfeeding, and I could not have any contact with my family.
You said they were abusing you physically? --- They would tie my hands to my back and my dress was pleated and they would fondle me in whatever part of the body that they wanted to and I couldn't do anything because my hands were tied to the back.
How long did this take place? --- Whenever they took me for interrogation, they used to do that. And I ended up telling them that I did not know anything about the boys who escaped. I ended up taking my clothes and putting them immersing them in the water and they would come and get my clothes wet, that was when they stopped interrogating me.
Did you recognise any of your torturers? --- I know all of them. On the day of my release Mr Taylor
came and he said I must pack my belongings, and I asked him as to why I should pack my belongings. He did not explain it to me, he just said I must collect my belongings. And I didn't have any belongings. He said to me he was going to send with people who were going to deal with me accordingly and he sent Botha together with two males and he said they must pull me outside and one of the criminals who came into my cell I slapped him across the face and he went away. He said they were going to call some who were going to deal with me. He came with seven policemen, Indians, whites as well as a black person. When they came I realised that I was not going to fight or be able to fight with them. I wanted an attorney and when I was in a cell I felt safe that they would not do anything to me, but if they take me to another place I felt I wouldn't be safe. I realised that it was better for me to fight with these policemen up till such time that they had to drag me on the ground, taking me to the charge office, where they wanted me to sign a certain statement and then I would be released. They wanted to take my fingerprints and I refused to give my fingerprints. They ended up taking prints of my fists. Then I went away. I was not fully dressed. It was on a Saturday during the day and I went to Kwenz(?) Mlaba's office. And they were sort of also surprised as to where I was coming from, because they were giving me nine tablets per day and they used to make me drink those tablets. I think those tablets condemned me for life.
After drinking those tablets how did you feel? --- I would feel very tired and my eyes would be hazy and when I came out of the prison I was partially blind, up till
such time that I was taken to the hospital, my whole body was swollen.
How long did you stay at the hospital? --- I was treated and Mary said she wanted me to come to Lamontville at her place, then whenever I went for treatment she would take me with her to the hospital, but now I am receiving psychiatric treatment because I had a post traumatic stress syndrome.
How long did you stay in the wheelchair? --- It wasn't very long, because I moved with Mary to her place and I continued with the treatment, I felt better then, and the doctor said I should get more exercise.
When you got back home, what was the situation? --- The situation was quite bad. We could not stay at home because the police used to come and pick up all the children, even the youngest of them all. They took Mrs Dorothy as well as all the other children. Even the doctors who were staying in Westville were taken. Then I realised it was time for me to take my children to go and join MK, because I realised this was a battle, and it was survival of the fittest. I was forced to take my children. My children also went out of the country, they were travelling in groups. And Shembe said I must just be free and relaxed and I would put them at Shembe's place and we would take them in groups so that they would escape the country.
Where is your husband and how is he? --- Yes, the times he was at home and at times he would phone for a car to come and fetch the children. And I would wake up in the morning and go to Maputo and in the afternoon I would be at home because we were always looking after the
children who had been victimized.
Now, as you had given up your home, did you ever manage to get another home where you could stay peacefully? --- After our arrest we were not able to conduct a proper family life, we ended up separating with my husband. My husband is in 'Maritzburg and some children are with him, the others are with me.
So, are you a family now? --- Yes, we are a family but there is absolutely no contact, real contact of cooperation as a family.
When you started you said you gave yourself up or gave yourself in, what were you doing? --- I gave myself to the organisation, I sacrificed my time and my main task was to help people who wanted to skip the country.
Which organisation was that? --- It was the ANC.
There were certain names that you have been mentioning in the past. You spoke about Thomas Shabalala, Khanyile, and Albert. Who are these people? --- Shabalala is one of the prominent members in Lindelani. Shabalala was the leader of Amabutho and they were conducting a reign of terror within the community. Albert Smit was a flying squad, member of the flying squad, and all of them were involved in harassing me as well as Basson.
Is Shabalala and Khanyile involved in any particular organisation or movement? --- They are members of the IFP, because they said we were against the IFP and we were members of the UDF, we were going around promoting ideologies of the UDF. And they felt that we were working against them.
Mrs Mbatha, you said when you got out of prison you were mentally disturbed. You suffered from PTS. Is there any treatment that you are receiving with regard to that illness? --- Every month I go to see my doctor and whenever I skip my treatment my doctor gets very troubled because I am supposed to take my treatment, because your mind doesn't function properly when you are from solitary confinement, especially when you are being harassed by men when your husband is also in the cell and they would shout at me or call my name as if I was some sort of rag or something that has just hopped out of a dustbin.
The people who were harassing you, when you think about them now, how do you feel? --- I actually feel pity for them, because when I came back with my children, they were the ones who met me at the airport and they said, "Virginia, you are back with your children". I asked them, "And so what, what has that got to do with you?", because I did not know what they wanted from me when I was coming from outside the country. My children were now not able to go on being educated in South Africa, even after I had got a site I was told that I had absolutely no right to get a site in South Africa. Then the NUM women tried to get me a site. When I was arrested they took my car, a Ford Cortina, and they went around arresting the comrades in my car.
What are your wishes? --- I wish that they could repent from their sins of the past. I want them to turn over new leaves and change their lifestyles as well as their ideologies. I feel terrible about the fact that my children have been affected by this aftermath, because
they still suffer even now. And I feel very bad when I think about Albert Smit, who came to ask me about Samora Machel as to whether I had seen pieces of his body, was he buried all intact or was he in pieces, and they said I must toyi-toyi. They were actually mocking me.
Lastly, Mrs Mbatha, is there any message or any wish that you would like to put before this commission? --- My request is that all those people especially Khanyile from Lindelani, I wish that they could come before the truth commission to come and confess their sins, so that we may start afresh and build a new South Africa. Because the manner in which things were done, I think there are certain people who are still having misgivings about Khanyile and Shabalala. So, when they come forward, I think that they can confess their sins and we can go forth with our lives. We can face the future with brighter prospects. I even never went to my father's funeral. I told myself that thick and thin I will always try to help in whatever manner that I can in helping my community. I urge them to come forward to the truth commission, so that they may come and relate their stories and give reasons as to why they acted in the manner that they did. And I also pray to the Lord to give them softer hearts, so that they may have a different approach to life as well as a different approach towards other people who are not within the same group as they are, they must exercise some tolerance.
We thank you very much, we shall hand over to the chairperson.
UNIDENTIFIED COMMISSIONER: We thank you very much, Mrs Mbatha. You have told us about what you came across. /You have
You have worked with the youth. Maybe there is something else that you did not say which you think it was real bad? --- (No audible reply)
(Inaudible) ... today in this new South Africa and you can tell it is not okay. You have also stated a lot of things which happened to you. Is there any other thing you would like to add? --- What really troubles me is this ordeal about comrade Mapumulo. He had little kids. I still don't know what those kids are thinking today because what they faced it was real painful. They really destroyed me. Even today I am still in pain.
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... and how many youth I have helped to go to exile. I feel bad when I learn that people are killing youths. I would like to apologise to a lot of mothers out there that I helped their children to go out, to leave this country and they never came back some of them. I would like you to really forgive me. What I did, I did this because I loved this country and I love those kids. I wanted them to take me back like their mother. I know other children died. I was supposed to go to these women and apologise about what I did, but I didn't because some of the women I don't know them, I never met them. I only knew their kids.
CHAIRMAN: ... say for the love of this country. And I think many of us don't appreciate the fact that we are here because of people like yourself and because of the sacrifices made by young people. But it is because of that sacrifice that we are able to sit here and that we are able to have and enjoy the kind of democracy that we
have. If it was not for that sacrifice we might still be at war. And we, I think, commend you, you have really suffered int his process, that you have been a true patriot to this country. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
NTOMBENKULU NGUBANE (Sworn States) (Through Interpreter)
CHAIRMAN: Be seated. We have asked Dr Magwaza to assist you with the leading of your evidence.
DR MAGWAZA: I greet you, Mrs Ngubane. I would like to thank you for the patience that you had. If I look at your statement, Mrs Ngubane, you were born in 1940, you are staying at Umlazi. You are here today to tell us about your story and how they harassed you and how you were detained and you lost your child while you were in prison. I would like you to tell us more about yourself before you can actually start relating your story. Tell us more about your family members. --- I am Ignatian Ntombikulu Ntalani. We were six from the family where I was born. They are all dead. My parents died when I was 7 years old. Today I have my sister here with me. I have a brother, Michael, and a sister, Mamsie(?). We grew up very poor and we were taken by relatives because our parents died when we were very young. I got married to the Ngubane family. My husband left me because of something very bad that happened to my life. I would like to relate my story from the age of 18 years. When I was 18 years old I joined a nursing training in 1960, in King George. Me and the other nurses we joined together, we talked about the unhappiness and the misery that we met at work. We joined ANC. There were many of us. We engaged on boycotts. Even though we were working but we were like engaged in collective bargaining. During lunchtimes we used to go to the management and we used to negotiate with the management and tell them the things that we were not happy about. At that time I was a member of ANC together with the other nurses. One day we
were called, 17 of us. They told us to resign. We were forced to resign because we were the leaders of the ANC. We had no choice but to resign and we lost our jobs. After a while I heard that people were hired in King Edward, so I went to King Edward, many of us were there who also heard that King Edward had been employing people. When I arrived there, one man called me and told me that, "You see, there is your name, your name has been blacklisted, you can't be admitted in this hospital because your previous matron said you are bad". I realised that things were bad for me and I went back home. I used to visit offices, ANC offices, because I had a problem. After that, in 1962 ANC was banned and ANC leaders were arrested, some people went to exile. The offices were left behind, empty, with no one in them, and then I realised that it was up to me to go in those offices because they were now empty. The special branch used to come and harass me. I remember one day as I was walking down the street, I had one guy, his name is Israel Ndimande, who was also working in those offices, I hired him to come and work with me in those ANC offices. Some times they used to just arrest me in the street and Israel Ndimande will realise by not seeing me coming back that I have been arrested. In 1963 they gave me a banning order, they told me not to move around, I was in Pinetown at that time, I wasn't at Umlazi, F Section. I stayed at Pinetown but the police used to come and question me, interrogate me. They used to interrogate me until I was confused because all of them they used to ask me different questions and I was confused really. One day they arrested me. My brother was getting married. When my
brother came and ask me to go to a shop with him so that I choose clothes to buy for his marriage, we went to Sales House. I used to disguise the way I used to dress myself, it was like in disguise, like an old lady. One day, Nyathi caught me, I was with my sister. He said to me what are you doing here in Durban, you are supposed to be in Pinetown, because you are being banned to walk around up to Durban. I apologised to him and then he said to me I can only do that if you sign here, I signed and then he left - he let go of me. My sister went to Sales House and I decided to take a taxi or a bus back to Pinetown. When I was talking to my sister then white policemen came and they were there. I tried to hide. I ran. Within 30 minutes I was back in Pinetown. I went to the police station to report and then I walked back home. After two days, I am not certain if it was two or three, they told me that I was needed in Pinetown Court. I went to the Pinetown Magistrate's Court, he told me to go to Durban Magistrate Court. They told me that I am facing a charge that I left Pinetown for Durban when I wasn't supposed to do so. Because the law didn't allow us to talk to a lot of people if we were banned. I went to see my lawyer, Bagwandeen. I was pregnant at that time. Bagwandeen asked me how can it be if they can just give me a suspended sentence, so that I see doctors and I go to clinic, they told my lawyer that there is - there are doctors in hospital, and I will see them. They send me to Durban Prison for a month. After a month they called me. They told me that I am alone in my cell, I am not with other people, therefore I am consuming a lot of space for other prisoners. So, they were going to change
me and send me to Jo'burg Prison. They send me to Ford(?) Prison in Johannesburg. I stayed there in a very small cell, the toilet is closer, it wasn't even a toilet, it was just a tin where you used to go and relieve yourself. I stayed there and I was sleeping on the floor, on the floor on the cement, it was cold. There was no doctor. I think I stayed there for something like two to three months, and then they called me there, they asked me if I am a nurse, I said, yes, I am. So, they told me you must come, we are going to put you in a prison hospital, so that you will be able to help other prisoners because you are having a nursing experience. That's where I started sleeping in a bed, this was in prison hospital. But it was late already. I stayed a few months and then I delivered my child. And the person who delivered my child was a nurse who was a prisoner as well, who got there because of shoplifting. There were no doctors. The next day I found my child yellow and because I had this nursing experience I knew it was jaundice. I suspected jaundice, so I told the doctors that my child wasn't well, and I think he is suffering from jaundice. So, they took my child, they told me they are taking him to another cell in hospital. When I asked them how can they take my child when he is sick and leave me behind, I am supposed to breastfeed my child, they told me, "You are a prisoner" and then the next day they came back and they told me that, "Your child is dead". I asked them how can I contact my family so that they give a decent funeral to my child, because I am behind bars, they told me that, "You can't contact your family, this child will be buried by the government". I don't know up
until today if my child is still alive or really my child died. This is what they told me that the child had died. I stayed there until just before I could be released. Two days before they called me to the office. When I arrive in that office I saw three white policemen and one black policeman. When I arrived there they introduced themselves, they said they were from Pretoria. They said they were not going to release me until they take photographs of me. They took me outside the yard, they took the photographs. 30 minutes went by, they wanted every angle of myself, so they took photographs. And when we went back, I realised that I didn't have clothes, because my clothes have been taken by other prisoners. Then they released me, they gave me a blanket. They took me by their car and they left at Park Station in Johannesburg. I took a train and I arrived in Durban. I went to Durban Prison, I reported that I was released. I went back to Pinetown, because five years wasn't yet over. I was banned for five years, I stayed there until it was over, then I returned back to Umlazi and home. When all these things were happening I had a brother who was a CID, who was working in Smith Street. SB police were harassing him, because they were accusing him of having a sister who was a ANC. They were harassing him until he told him that he was going to docket - a case for them, because he wasn't ANC, his sister was. Even if when I was in Clermont, they were harassing them, even though they knew that it was me who was an ANC member, not my family, but they were interrogating them. They were harassing them.
I will lead you now with questions so that we get more information of what we really need. Now, your
banning order is over, and you are going back to Umlazi. As you explained that when you were at Umlazi they still continued harassing you after you got married, police came to your family, and harassed you. --- I went back to Umlazi, I met Mr Ngubane and we got married. We went to ... (inaudible) ..., that's where we got married. Policemen used to come there, I don't know who showed them where I was, but they used to come and harass me there. and my mother-in-law was still there, she was still alive and she as scared that what kind of a daughter-in-law whom police are always after her. Is she a criminal or what? And I could sense that the love they had for me went down because they didn't trust me that well. I was staying in their house, it wasn't my husband's house but it was at her home, his mother's house. We left that place, we went and built our own place. Policemen also followed us. After a while I think I got confused. I think I was confused and at that time even my husband was now having a negative attitude towards me now, things were not well between us, because he was - I think he was now tired of being harassed by police and busy running away from police, because of me. One day my husband wasn't there and when he came back ... (intervention)
What exactly do you mean when you say you were confused? --- I don't know how to explain this, but I was really confused, I don't know what happened to me. I was talking like I was a prophet, some of the things were not making sense, some of the things were making real sense. When my husband realised this, he went to a traditional healer. My husband was a reverend. And people from that area knew that he was a reverend. All
these things are happening, I am a Christian, and people from that area know me as being a Christian. There was a man from Gabashe's family, who was also a member in our church. Mr Gabashe came and my husband told him that my wife is crazy, I think my wife is sick. And I ask my husband why is this man coming to stay with us, you think I am crazy, I am not. My husband and Mr Gabashe went to see a traditional healer and they brought back some medication. I told them I can't take this herbal medicine which they brought, so my husband tied me and he used to beat me and my daughter used to beat me and assault me in front of my ... (inaudible) ... My husband used to assault me in front of my daughter. I used to stay for two weeks without taking any food. Not because I didn't have food, but I wasn't feeling well. One day another Mr Gabashe came, not the same Gabashe who came and went with my husband to a traditional healer, another man now. This Mr Gabashe is our cousin and he said to me why was I was swollen, why was my hand swollen, and I told him it was my husband who tied me and he tried to speak to my husband and my cousin said to my husband he mustn't do that. And then he left. He came back with R10,00. He gave my husband to take me to hospital. There was also a certain reverend and my cousin asked this reverend to take me to hospital. It was the reverend and together with two other women. And we arrived in hospital the doctor's diagnosed me as being crazy. They gave me injections and I gained consciousness after I was in - I was admitted in hospital. They explained to me how I came there. My sister doesn't know this story, what I am telling you, she doesn't know, except for my daughter. I
never told my sister. She will be surprised. I didn't want my sister or my husband to hate each other. I was admitted in hospital. I still have the medication with me. I was given a ... (inaudible) ... people who have a medical experience they know this medication, it is only given to people who are mentally ill. There is no peace between me and my husband now. One day Mr Nxobisa came to our house. When he came he brought chickens with him. He said we must keep those chickens for him. We had ... (inaudible) ... because we were doing our plantation. We kept those chickens for him. I used to give these chickens for food and then he came back another day to fetch his chickens, he said he was taking them to Bel ... (inaudible) ... to Bizane. My husband was going to go with me Mr Ngubane on the same day. We grabbed the chickens, we put the chickens in Mr Ngubane's car. It was during the weekend. They left on Saturday, they were supposed to come back on Sunday, because on Monday they were supposed to go to work.
Let's just hold there. I can understand your story but I just want you to stick on what really happened to your husband, because on your statement it says that you got divorced and you were left with the children. --- That's why I am relating this story about the chickens, because it started there. Mr Ngubane didn't come back. I went to Mr Nxobisa to ask where my husband was. I asked Mr Nxobisa where was Ngubane, my husband. And Nxobisa was surprised, he said to me he was supposed to be back home, and he said to me I must go and check him at his sister's place. His sister didn't like me. He went to his sister's place. I went back home. I told my
children that your father is to your aunty's place. I took a bus to Mawood(?) to check if he had a problem. When I arrived there he explained to me. I found him very well and I asked him, "Ngubane, my husband, why are you here?", and then he told me the reason he is not coming back home it's because at home he is doing nothing but there he is fixing furniture. And then ... (inaudible) ... said to me, "Ja, it is true, he is now working", and then I explained to them it is not a good way of someone to do, because he would have - he should have explained to us at home that he is not coming back, because he is fixing furniture. After two to three days a person came to my house. I could tell that this person who is coming to my yard is driving his car fast and then this person started knocking and I ask, "Who is it, who is it?" And it was ... (inaudible) ...
(END OF SIDE B)
6A/0 (START OF SIDE A)
... I was scared. I hold my children. I held my ... (inaudible) ... I left my kids alone. I went back to Mawood to see my husband and to explain to him what happened. And my husband was angry. He told his sister that listen to her, she wants me to go back there, but she knows that the chief doesn't want me from that place.
Let's go back. I can understand that people were harassing your children. How many children do you have? --- Four.
Are they all still alive? --- Yes.
As you have explained that you are in psychiatric treatment, are you still taking that treatment? --- Yes, I am. I explained what happened to my husband the
previous night. My husband suggested that we should sell that house. I didn't know that he was doing this because he wanted to marry someone else. We sold the house. We went to his sister's place. When we were staying there, he brought his girlfriend to his sister's house and I was supposed to go and share a bed with his sister. And as I was relating this problem to his sister, his sister told me that he doesn't want any noise in his house - in her house. And she said I must keep quiet. So, I did like that. One day my husband told me that he is not working and I am not working, I should go to look for a job. I agreed because I wanted to take care of my children. At that time my last born was three years old. IO went to a coloured family to work there and she told me that she was going to buy me a bed the next day in that coloured house, because I was sleeping there, but she made me sleep on the floor. Over the weekends I would go and visit my children. One day as I was going to visit my children, when I arrive at his sister's place, my children were not there. I asked his sister and his sister said to me, "Your husband took your sister. He said he was going to Inanda with them". And then something rang a bell in my head. I said I am going to look for a certain church at Inanda. When I arrived there, my children were staying there without food. And only the last one was given food, because my - his eldest sister would go to a reverend's house and ask for food for him. At that time my husband is staying with this women, they aren't married, they are just staying together. And he will go there for four days and if he is not there the children will not have food.
We can understand that but we just want to know exactly what happened, what was the end? What was the end of the story? --- What he did, he took this women and left for Johannesburg, and married the woman there. They left for Johannesburg. This happened in 1983, up until today. Sometimes he will take my sons and leave with them for Jo'burg.
At this moment you are staying with your children. Okay, let's go back a little bit so that we clarify one of two things. When you were arrested, you told us about Mr Nyati. Where is Mr Nyati? --- I don't know where he is, but he was a well-known SB. Every ANC member knows Nyati. He first joined ANC as a member, and then his aim was to sell other ANC members, sell them out.
You never met Mr Nyati again? --- No, I never.
There were policemen who harassed you while you were in prison. Can you still recall the names? --- No, I don't.
Again you also talked about matron who listed you on a blacklist. Do you remember this matron? --- No, I don't, the only one that I remember is Dorothy Cornel, my previous matron, and she is now late.
You also said they took your son in prison and up until today you don't know whether your son is still alive or he is dead. Do you still remember who took your child in prison? Like the name of the police. --- He was Sistalabi(?), Sistalabi is the one who took my son. It was in Fourth Prison in Johannesburg.
And these other ladies, Mrs Ngcobo, Mrs Ndimande, where are they? --- Rosine is now late, Rosine Mathabula, the only one who is still alive is Israel
Ndimande, and Ngcobo.
I would like to state you that we understand your story, we understand all the harassment that you have experienced. At home, outside home, it is so said but we do understand and to us you appear like a hero, like our hero who are healthy. We respect you and the whole community and the society respects you. We are very happy that you came today and sit here and tell your story. Thank you very much. --- My last born is a little bit disturbed mentally. And she is also at ... (inaudible) ... Mental School. Mrs Majali knows my child. She is the one who took her to this school. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: ... to tell us your story. Yours is one which goes back right to 1958, when you trained as a nurse. You have had a very hard time and I am sure the pain of never knowing the reality about what really happened to your daughter is something which lingers with you all the time. We have heard what you have said. I just had one question, do you not receive any maintenance from your husband for any of the children? --- No, I am not receiving. I tried to claim maintenance from him, because he also stole my two sons and it was late when I tried to claim this maintenance because he was now sick. He never maintained them since we separated.
We have heard what you said and we have heard what you said about your last daughter needing some kind of counselling as well. We thank you for coming here today, it is an incredibly hard story, your life seems to have been one of terrible upheaval and you yourself have made enormous sacrifices to the struggle. You, in a sense,
what we are all benefiting from is the product of the work of people like yourself and if it was not for people like yourself we would not be able to sit here. But the sacrifice indeed has been very great from yourself. Thank you for coming, we will see what we are able to do. And we will contact you to tell you where we are in terms of both investigation and in terms of some of the requests you have made. Thank you for coming today, Mama. --- I have one other thing that I would like to bring to the commission's attention. I am in a slum area, in a squatter camp. And I am staying there with my children. I would like the commission, if they can, give some help just to help my children to take them to school to pay for their education. Or even if it means to take them for a dressmaking school or a driving school.
(Inaudible) ... to all the requests that victims are making, and from what they hear they will make a recommendation to the President about what kind of assistance can be rendered to the children, and to people like yourself. Thank you, Mama. --- Thank you.
/DORA KHOSI MKHIZE
DORA KHOSI MKHIZE
CHAIRMAN: (Inaudible) ... Tiny Mayer to assist you with the leading of your evidence.
MS T MAYER: Thank you, Madam Chair. I greet you, Khosi. How are you feeling? I am just going to help you along because we are running out of time. Do you not be troubled because I am not going to rush you, I will give you enough time for you to relate your story, but whenever we feel we are running out of time I will just lead you with the questions. We have got your statement here in front of us, where you are going to tell us about three people: yourself; as well as your mother, Phihliwe Mkhize; as well as your sister. I want to thank you for the courage that you have shown because you said you wanted to be seen by the people, you don't want to testify in camera. And you want the world to see you and you want the world to know your story. We shall request you to tell us briefly about your family as well as the place in which you were staying in Mpumulanga. Tell us what was happening in 1987 that led to your harassment and torture? --- There were fights in Mpumulanga, but when this happened we were lucky, because where we were staying it was the ANC stronghold, though I didn't know anything about politics at that time. But Mr - my elder brother ... (intervention)
You said you were staying in an ANC stronghold, but there was also IFP members, where were you staying? Were you staying at different areas? --- Yes, we were staying a distance but not that much of a distance, because whenever they wanted to attack us, they would come to attack us.
On the 21st of July in 1987 what happened at your place between you and Teleweni? --- It was at night, but I had just slept, because I was a dressmaker. On that particular day I felt down, and I slept quite late and I couldn't fall after sleep. When they came to knock, I was the one who heard them, and I told my mother that there was a knock at the door. My mother woke up from her sleep and we went to the diningroom to try and open. Even before we opened they knocked for the second time and they told us that we had to open the door because if we didn't they were going to burn the house down. And my mother opened up. They told us - and they pushed us into my mother's bedroom, that's where we went in and they were asking themselves as to what they should do with us, should they burn the house down or what should they do. They took me into the kitchen and they took my sister into another bedroom. In that bedroom, the main bedroom, there was my sister as well as my mother. At that time that they had taken me into the kitchen, I did not hear what they were saying to my mother, and they started raping me.
How many were they? --- It was quite a group of people, but I can't say how many they were, but there were more than ten, the ones who raped me were more than three.
When they got in your house, what did they say they wanted? --- They never explained to me, because even one member of the UDF whom we though they were going to ask for, they never even asked for him, and they told another lady who was staying next door to us they asked her as to where Lucky was.
During that time they were doing all this, they didn't say anything to you? --- No, they were not
saying anything at that time they raped me, they were standing, some were watching and others were telling others to be quick because they wanted to take their turns with me.
You said there were children in the house, whose kids were these? --- I was with my son, I have got three children and I was with my youngest child, and when they got into the bedroom they were looking and they looted certain things from the house possessions, as well as some clothing. And my youngest child took the purse, thinking that there was money in there, only to find that they had already stolen the money. And the other children were with my mother in her bedroom. The children did not see anything because there is nobody who knows that I was raped. Because I never told anybody, I did not even tell my sister. I think my sister was also raped, because I remember that at that time we went to the police station. We got into the van together with her when we were taken to the doctor, and I don't know how many raped her.
Did you ever speak about this with your sister or your mother? --- At that time when I was in the kitchen and my other sister was in the bedroom, and as soon as they finished raping me, they went out the door, all of the gang that came to rape us. And I went into my mother's bedroom. I discovered that my mother had been stabbed. She had two stab wounds and Busi was sitting on the bed and she thought she had actually hidden herself, but it was very apparent that she was there. I went into my mother's bedroom, and I saw my mother sleeping on the bed. I did not realise that at that time she was dead. And they had already burn the outer building. And I saw
my mother. I told myself because she had high blood pressure, I thought maybe she has just lost consciousness. Then I went into the bedroom. Before I opened the water, I could see the petrol where they had spilt it, before setting the house alight. I did not care, I went around trying to extinguish the fire, because I thought the worse had happened so I had nothing more to fear. When I went to the outside room, I found that my child had hidden. He got in the dustbin and when they set the house alight they realised that there was nobody inside and all the time he had hidden himself in the dustbin. When I opened I realised that I could not open the door. When they kicked the door, probably the key fell down and the child was inside the house. And I ran, trying to extinguish the fire, I kept on fetching the water. And I tried to wake my sisters up so that they could come and help me but there was a lot of confusion, nobody wanted to go out, everybody was just scared by the whole incident. And they ran away. As well as my brother ran away, because he was quite scared. We tried to get a car, taking her to the hospital, not realising that she was dead already. We took her to the hospital, but they said they could not help her, and they said they were going to transfer her to King Edward. Then I said I was going to accompany my mother. I was still very confused because I was also bleeding and I was wearing a nightdress. At that time, it didn't really strike my mind I was not dressed, because I was very confused at that stage. And the following day we thought that maybe she had had a heart attack and we took some clothes thinking that when we get to the hospital she would have regained consciousness. At the
hospital they were scared to tell us that my mother had died. We tried looking for her in all the hospitals and we were told that we should go to the hospital mortuary and see if we could identify my mother's body. We discovered her body in the mortuary and we identified her. And we went back home.
How old were you when this happened? --- I was born in 1952, Busi was born in 1957.
And what about your children as well as your younger siblings? --- My first born was born in 1969, the second one in 1972 and the last one in 1977.
How did this incident affect them psychologically, is there any change that you notice? --- Busi's child was terribly disturbed. She can't stay in the house. If you are in the sitting room and say you ask him to get you some water, she's always get to stay all by himself in the house, whenever there is anybody in the house he chooses to stay with that person that he can't be alone in the house, he can't even go to the toilet all by himself. We were all traumatized and we were disturbed. Ever since then I lost my appetite, I never eat normally any more. I eat little pieces of food in small amounts.
Besides not being able to eat, in what way were you disturbed? --- I was a dressmaker and when my mother died we were staying at other people's houses and whenever they wanted to sleep we had to go out. At time we would cook, even before we finish cooking we would be told that these people were coming and they were coming to attack us. Then we would get scared and we would pack our things and tried to get some alternative refuge.
Amongst those people who raped you, did you
recognise or identify any? --- I did not know them, but there is one who had another one saying he was present at the time when this took place, but during that time even if you could know the person, there was absolutely nothing that you were going to do, so were not listening to any stories.
Did you hear the name? --- No, I did not keep any names because I knew there was absolutely nothing I was going to do.
Were you able to go back to your home and live like a normal family? --- When my mother died we did not move out of our place, but we used to stay at my next door neighbour's place and we kept on coming and going, whenever there was an imminent attack we would escape and stay at another place. At some stage we stayed for the whole year at my sister's place, then we were told that the situation had actually come down. We went back home and we are still staying at home. Because where we were staying there were ANC members, it was an ANC stronghold. At times the Inkatha members would come and attack us in that area.
How is it now in Mpumalanga? --- It is quiet now at this stage.
Is there anything that you would like to add to your testimony? --- What I want to say is that when my mother was still alive I was working and I had just stopped working in 1985 planning to be a full time dressmaker. And I built a two roomed outbuilding, so that I could make my dressmaking there, I could work in the other room and in the other room I could sleep. So, I took all my resources and invested them in buying
machines as well as material. And later on the place was burnt down and my customers did not know how to trace me because I was not staying at the same place and I had to move from one place to the other.
Now, how do you manage to survive? --- My two children are soldiers, but children always are wayward, because when they came back I asked them to try and support me, so that I can start afresh and work for myself. I needed some capital from them. But because children are always children and they always behave in the manner they like, so they were not really interested to help me.
Is there any wish or expectation that you would like this commission to know, like what maybe you need some help at home? --- I can be happy if I can get some help. I would appreciate it, because I would like to start afresh and do my dressmaking because Busi my sister is holding a part-time job, and we don't have a breadwinner who is earning a living.
Where is your younger son, because you said you wanted your son to have some skills training? --- It is my son who is 18 years old, he is still at school, he is in Standard Seven.
Thank you very much, Khosi, I will hand you over to the chairperson, maybe there are certain questions that she would like to ask you. This is a touching story like the many other stories that we have heard today of trauma and torture that the women have gone through. And what is even more touching is that you couldn't open up and talk to anybody about what happened to you, and that this is the very first that you are talking about this, because
you want to vent out your anger and you want the world to know what sort of life you lived and what trauma and harassment you went through, so that it may be known by the whole world as to who committed these deeds. After this had happened, now what - can you tell us about your mental as well as your physical health, did you get any help? --- Besides being taken by the police to the doctor, there is absolutely nothing. I don't know what happened to my private parts, because at times I would ... (inaudible) ...
(END OF SIDE A)
6B/0 ... that or not. My husband died in 1985 and thereafter I never ever wanted to get involved, then I told myself that I wanted to bring my children up.
Has this got anything to do with what happened to you, that is the rape that you got scared of men or you look at them with resentment? --- I totally do not trust a man. I think I will never ever get close to a man. I regard him as an enemy, because at this moment I not even thinking of getting involved with any man.
We thank you very much, that is a very bold step towards healing, talking about whatever happened to you will make you heal. We thank you very much for your courage.
CHAIRMAN: You have been incredibly brave to come here and to talk about it publicly. Other witnesses have asked in fact that their faces be shielded and often even their names, so this kind of experience does remain with one for a long long time. But the fact that you have been able to come here proves that you are dealing with it entirely on your own. The commission has heard a number
of the requests that you have made and is aware in fact of the terrible tragedy that your mother also died in this incident. We hear that your sons at least have managed to make something of themselves and are in fact employed as soldiers. We have heard your request that you want to go back to dressmaking and that you would like to be assisted in that regard. Now, the commission takes note of that request, but also wants to remind people that in terms of a delivery system, the commission makes recommendations to government, who will then enact some kind of reparation policy. But the - we would like to thank you in particular for sharing that with us, because we know that it could not have been easy. Thank you for coming here today.
STEPHANIE KEMP (Sworn States)
CHAIRMAN: We have asked Ms Hlengiwe Mkhize to assist you with the telling of your story. --- Thank you very much, it really has been no problem to wait all day.
MS H MKHIZE: Thank you very much, once more welcome. I can see from your story that you are one of the people who have long begun to struggle with the reconciliation related issues. I would like you just to tell the commission a little bit about your upbringing as a child, especially those experiences which you think had an impact to your later on choices. --- Yes, I must say I have been listening for the last two days to the truth and reconciliation commission and it is very difficult, almost impossible, not to have arrived here this evening feeling an enormous amount of anger. I would also like to thank you for the dignity which this panel has conducted the proceedings of today and I would like to thank Makhosi for being here next to me. My anger is partly also one of outrage that I believe that everything that we have heard today and yesterday and whatever has happened for the last 50 years in this country has been done in the name of my culture. I was born in Stainsburg in the Karoo in 1941 and I grew in Malmesbury, where my father was principal of the Swartland Laerskool. So, I had an Afrikaans upbringing with the Dutch Reformed Church dominating the town, with cousins in the Broederbond who for the 30 years after I became political severed all ties with my family. As an adolescent in the early 1950s I moved to Port Elizabeth and I think it was the contrast with Malmesbury that crystallized for me my hatred of poverty and injustice that I saw around me. It was also in the
Eastern Cape/Port Elizabeth that I heard Nkosi Sikelele sung in my school around in the background. It was also the time when SACTO(?) was producing newspapers selling them in the streets of Port Elizabeth. By the early 1960s when I was at the University of Cape Town, studying physiotherapy I had come to the painful realization that the poverty, that Sharpeville and detention without trial were ways in which my own people were trying to claw their way into white privilege in our country. I never spoke Afrikaans again until my return from exile in 1990. At UCT I sought and found radical students, and more importantly I became involved in a committee of the defence and aid fund, at a time when the 90 day law providing for detention without trial was introduced. This work brought me in touch with an older generation of women stalwarts, like Ray Edwards, who was to become my mother-in-law later on, Dora Alexandra, Sara Khanisan and her husband Fred. I was recruited into the South African Communist Party and almost simultaneously before I understood the rapidly unfolding political process around me, I was also recruited into a sabotage unit of the ARM. On June, the 18th, 1964, sentences were handed down in the Rivonia trial. Death sentences seemed possible leading up to that date and probably were averted by the massive international campaign for the release of South African political prisoners. We, in the sabotage unit that I was involved in, carried out various acts of sabotage to coincide with these sentences. For me those four and a half years in Cape Town were one of increasing cultural isolation, they were frightening and they were bewildering years. On the 4th of July 1964, there were country wide
security clamp down, with many arrests in terms of the relatively new detention without trial laws. I was arrested a week later. I was help first in Maitland Police Cells and interrogated two or three times a day. I must point out that my arrival and my attempt to make a home in Durban is new. I am not really a Durban or a KwaZulu-Natal person, but I have chosen to come here and I felt very good to be part of this community of women here today. After about three weeks after my detention I was transferred to Caledon Square Police Station in central Cape Town. Interrogations continued, verbally, rough, but I could hold my own. In all this time I never saw a woman. There were teams of special branch men. I was in solitary confinement, guarded by uniformed men and seeing only males on the rare occasions that I saw other prisoners. Then a bomb exploded on the Johannesburg Station. In detention in Cape Town, all I knew was that there was a sudden outpouring of aggression from the interrogators. A woman of 77 died soon after the bomb and her four year old grandchild was badly injured. I have recently heard mention of this child who is now a woman in her 30s. I heard that she has continued to suffer from this experience and I feel a very deep grief for her, although I was not directly involved in what befell her. On the day in question, the 1st of August 1964, I was taken upstairs from the cells in Caledon Square to a small room, a storeroom it seemed, with packing cases and a table. I was told to remain standing and throughout the day special branch rotated through to interrogate me. I remember Captain Rossouw, who was in charge; Lieutenant van Dyk; Sergeant Spuiker van Wyk,
who was already notorious and implicated in the death of Luke Sowandle Legudle, who was a commander in Ukhonto we Siswe in Cape Town. There was also his side-kick, Van Wyk's side-kick, Sergeant Theo Sandberg. Standing and sleep depravation were new methods and I was not aware that later comrades like Fred Khanisan would be kept awake for a week on end. I stood from the morning through the day and into the night. The Cape Town special branch was soon joined by Lieutenants Fichter and Van der Merwe from Johannesburg, fresh and rampantly triumphant, boasting that they had arrested John Harris for the Johannesburg Station bomb and smashed his jaw, getting him to sing like a canary, a favourite phrase of the special branch at that time. John Harris was subsequently charged and he was hanged in Pretoria on the 1st of April 1965. He was a 27 year old teacher, with a wife, Anne, and a four year old son. I didn't know John Harris, but when he was hanged in Pretoria I happened to be held in the death cell reserved for white women in Pretoria Central Prison. All night I heard the prisoners signing, "God be with you till we meet again". In the morning a 19 year old wardress with uncommon sensitivity took some risk in coming to the spy hole of my cell to tell me John Harris had been hanged. Since then on the 1st of April every year, I have almost unwillingly recalled John Harris and relived the pain of that hanging. But before that, on the 1st of August, my interrogation went on. Fichter grew increasingly impatient with my recalcitrance, I was small fry, he resented that I was holding out. Then in the early hours of the following morning, the 2nd of August 1964, Captain Rossouw came in again and said that his men
were treating me too well, that this was a war. Rossouw said he was very sorry that we had used women, but if I wanted to behave like a man, he would treat me like a man. Spuiker van Wyk came in and pleaded with Rossouw to allow him to be alone with me. In retrospect it was clear that he was seeking permission to use violence to break me. Rossouw hesitated while Van Wyk wined on like a school boy wanting a chance to prove himself. Eventually Rossouw got up and left. Van Wyk from then on was crowing with glee and anticipation. He stood close in front of me, the door shut. He kept saying, "I know you hate me and you are going to hate me even more". I was exhausted and said,"Yes, I hate you". Then he started hitting me across my head. He grabbed my hair, which was long, and pulled me down to the floor and started battering my head on the floor. I lost consciousness. I came around, there were other people in the room. Someone shouted, "Get up" and I pulled myself over a chair on to my knees. I was retching, I was shaking violently. I heard somebody saying, "That won't help you". Van Wyk was gone and Fichter was back alone with me in the room. Clumps of my hair were strewn all over the floor. He kicked some hair under the table. He demanded that I make a statement. I was completely incoherent. But in that atmosphere Fichter chose to reprimand me for calling him Fichter and said I must call him Lieutenant Fichter. I quote from a statement that I recently found which I had made soon afterwards to my attorney, Hymie Bernhout(?), in which I said that:
that is Fichter -
"... took my hand and he asked me whether I trusted him and I said I did. He told me to regard the security police as my friends and he touched the corner of my eye which was battered and bruised. I was incoherent and unable to make a statement. He took me back to my cell. At 5 o'clock in the morning Van Wyk and Sandberg appeared in the cell, still triumphant. They said they would be back at 6.00 but they never came. Later I learnt that the pair of them then went on to a comrade and then eventually a co-accused in another cell, Allan Brookes. They also beat him and Sandberg sat on Allan and twisted his ankle until it broke. I had just turned 23 and I learnt them the difference between fear and terror. There were friends and comrades outside in Cape Town. They managed to establish clandestine contact with me. They had heard of my interrogation and urged me to make a statement."
Spuiker van Wyk made a responding statement in which he admitted that he had hit me, but justified this by saying that I begged him to do so. I started civil proceedings against BJ Vorster, then Minister of Justice, and Van Wyk. Eventually IL was charged. After sentence I was taken Kroonstad Women's Prison. I was taken to many prisons, but that was one where I was. Most of the time I was
still in solitary confinement because at that time I was the only white woman political prisoner and as all else in the country the prisons too were segregated. At Kroonstad the special branch came back, took me into the matron's office and started shouting at me. I was only aware of a row of highly polished black shoes and my own terror. I started screaming. The matron of Kroonstad Prison then was a young woman called Erica van Zyl. She rushed in and sent the special branch away. She sat down with me and said that as long as I was in her prison, she would not allow the special branch near me. Now, 32 years later, the same Erica van Zyl is, I believe, head of the prison services in our country. I think she is a brigadier now. I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her kindness then back in 1964, it was a very rare situation. Eventually at the end of 1965, when I was 24, Vorster, who was still Minister of Justice, invited our parents to come to him to ask for our release. My father made an appointment and saw him. I was taken from Barberton Prison, where I was there by then, to be interrogated by the head of special branch, General H J van den Berg. And curiously he could also not resist the temptation to ask me to hold his hands, to look into his eyes, and to swear at that time that I was not a communist. I did so. I was then released. Both Vorster and Van den Berg in these interviews made it clear that they knew I had been beaten up and expressed no surprise nor protest about this. The civil case against Vorster and Van Wyk was set down for hearing in Cape Town Supreme Court in mid 1966. The week before the State made an out of court settlement. What happened to me was just
the beginning of a 30 years of horror which was subdued but stretched relentlessly as comrades and friends were killed in detention, hanged, bombed, murdered. On my return from exile in September 1990, it seemed that we would sit in a meeting one day, I was then in Gauteng, in Johannesburg, and the next day comrades from the meeting would be dead. There has been no time to recover. I say it was subdued horror, because we lived by our own motto, "Don't mourn, mobilize". I went into exile in September 1966 and became a stateless person. Like thousands of other exiles I lived without my extended family. My two sons were born in London and grew up without their grandparents, their cousins, their aunts. They still have very little ability to form relationships within the family beyond their parents. They learnt at a tender age not to handle our mail and not to touch parcels. Their father was bombed in 1988 when they were 17 and 18 years old. He does not like it when we say he was lucky, but he did survive with incredible spirit and optimism. We were lucky. I am honoured to have been part of the struggle and I am warmed by the remembrance of the love, support and comradeship we shared with people from all over the world, from Tanzania to Denmark, from Vietnam to the Soviet Union, and East Germany. What happened in that police cell, in 1964, was never resolved for me as the deaths and torture, the brutality mounted against those struggling to end the scourge of apartheid, and pursued them with increasing voracity into exile, engulfing activists, those thought perhaps to have been sympathetic, their wives, their husbands, their lovers, their parents, and their children. The growth of this
murderous monster machine is perhaps typified by Lieutenant Fichter, who had interrogated me in 1964, by his growth into a colonel. From the breaking of John Harris' jaw before Harris was hanged, Fichter went on to head the Ciskei Police, and finally to be charged for his complicity in the KwaMakhuta massacre. Responsibility for all these acts must be laid at the feet of those individuals concerned, those perpetrators, and with the SADF and the SAP. But I was born an Afrikaner, and from childhood we were fed, force fed if I might say on the glory of our people in the Anglo Boer War. When eventually Pik Botha got his moment of glory at the united Nations, following the collapse of the apartheid state, he chose there to read a poem in Afrikaans to the world, by Louis Leipoldt, glorifying the suffering of the Afrikaner people. For me the horror of the apartheid years is compounded by the loss to me through its prostitution of my language and my culture. The direction that Afrikaner nationalism took into obliterating all in its wake now, no matter how murderously, I lay at the feet of the Broederbond, the Dutch Reformed Church and the National Party. These bodies systematically fanned the flames and nurtured an increasingly Godless and brutalized culture. Through the truth and reconciliation commission, and as an Afrikaner, I call on the Broederbond, the Dutch Reformed Church, EW de Klerk, and the National Party to do more than say sorry, it was a mistake, I call on them to confess and repent their seminal role in nurturing murder and mayhem in our country, based on an ideology of race superiority. I must just end by saying that although I may seem very calm, although Makhosi knows that I am not,
it has been a period in trying to write this statement that has helped me to put into perspective the pain that I felt. Thank you.
Thank you very much for sharing with this commission some of the experiences that you have personally gone through. You mentioned here in your statement that you were recruited into the South African Communist Party. Can you just tell us a little bit about your involvement with the South African Communist Party, especially those practices which you think might have led to your detention? --- My detention was directly related to the sabotage, in fact it wasn't until after my release 18 months later that more members of the communist party in Cape Town were arrested and my name was found. I mentioned Fred Khanisan, who was then I believe on the central committee and had been responsible for recruiting me, he was kept awake, not allowed to sleep for a week, and was I think eventually put into an oxygen tent to save his life. A list was found with my name on it. I was then flown back, I was in East London at the time where my parents were living, I was flown back to Com... (inaudible) ... Building in Pretoria, and seen again by H J van den Berg, the head of security, and asked about my membership. I denied it. I remained a member, an active member in exile as well throughout those years until I think my most recent count was in 1991. And I must salute the party for having taught me about courage and about how to be a human being in this society.
As you are aware that our special focus today is on gender specific forms of humiliation, having gone through the prison, the detentions in this country, do you think
you were treated any better than other women of colour who were with you, charged with similar practices? --- Certainly. There is no question about that, that it was unusual the reason why my case perhaps was even resolved by getting a payout from the State, was that it was unusual, that it made front page headlines, it made international headlines, because I was hit. As we all know this was common place for black women in this country.
You have kept on referring to the Dutch Reformed Church, then the Nationalist Party, the Broederbond, and I am sure you are away as the truth commission that we are charged with the most difficult task to assist the people of South Africa to move towards reconciliation and healing. On the other hand we have the victims, on the other hand we have the alleged and in some instances now the identified perpetrators. And as you can see, the whole predominantly black, what is your suggestion in terms of moving towards national reconciliation. --- Without question reconciliation is necessary for the survival of our country. And I think if it wasn't for our president, it would have perhaps been harder for me and many people like me, to even contemplate the possibility of reconciliation. I think I feel particularly bitter because once I came back into the country I found that it did matter to me that I wanted my culture back. I did feel - I do feel very bitter and angry that these people took my language, they took my being, and they turned it into this machine, and I have no doubt that the cultural aspect of what happened in this country was what - it was the springboard for the murderous behaviour of people like Eugene de Kok. I
have no doubt about this. And I also know that there is an Afrikaner that to "belei", the Afrikaans term "beleindenis" is a term that is well understood. And what De Klerk did after the acquittal of the generals around the KwaMakhuta massacre, to almost blame the victims for their own suffering, is unforgivable. It reminded me of one of my lawyers who warned me that when I was beaten up that the police would say it is your fault, you attacked us, your eye jumped up and hit our poor policemen's fist. It is turning the whole thing upside down. There is no question to me that systemically the Broederbond, the Dutch Reformed Church, and the National Party, prepared the way, nurtured the culture that led to the suffering that we have heard from the truth commission - within the truth commission.
Thank you very much for your resilience. I will ask our chair, Jasmine Sooka, to take over.
CHAIRMAN: Question? Stephanie, I think that day by day through the last nine months we have heard stories of horror, and particularly in the last week, the video that we have seen on Prime Evil, the testimony that is coming through the amnesty applications, fills one with a sense of horror, but in all of that when we hear testimony from people like yourself, you are saddened by the fact that so few people were able to make the choice of going a different way, people like John Harris, yourself, Braam Fisher, Llewellen, all made a different choice, and they all lived in the same country, and I think part of the struggle in this country is to find the solution to what gives people the ability to make those choices. Because that is going to make the difference to salvaging this
nation, because some times reconciliation seems to be very cheap, and the price is often the cost of the victims, and I think that what we are really struggling with is what you have said in your last few remarks. That we need for people to say more than it was a mistake. We need for them to really come forward and repent, because only in that repentance will the rest of us be able to find some kind of solace that the reconciliation on which we are building this country will not be a cheap one. Thank you for coming forward and for sharing your testimony. I think for many of us who have heard your story before, you have always been a shining example. We do salute your courage in coming forward. Thank you. --- Thank you.
--- Who is going to lead me?
CHAIRMAN: Nobody will lead you specifically, but we will just ask you to do it in the same way that the lady this morning and Nosiswe did as well. --- Okay. I wanted to taper my account to fit in with the Truth and Reconciliation Act, to start from 1960, my political life goes long before that. So, I have started as early as 1960 and told you that we were ordered, if detained, not to make statements. I mean everybody said, if you are picked up, don't say a word, right. And we had merely to give our names and addresses, but nothing else. That soon changed with people like Stephanie Kemp, but it changed a little earlier, when we were faced with the torture, Indress Naidoo had been strung up in a bag, and beaten out of his mind and he had been shot in his arm. And then we knew they were very serious. So, people hadn't started to die by then in detention, but we knew that they were going to break us. So, we altered it. Say what needs to be said, no more. Right. Supposing they wanted to know were you at that meeting, confirm it, you know, don't keep saying, no, because then your body gets it. Now, the evidence of Stephanie Kemp and her successful prosecution of her tortures left us in little doubt that force, violence, was going to be used. Violet Wynberg, she is late now, spoke of her detention, and was one of the horrors of our life at that time, to see Violet, this elderly person, with her shoes covered with her swollen feet ... (inaudible) ...
(END OF SIDE B)
7A/0 (START OF SIDE A)
... would rape them. They were punished with no pads when they menstruated. Lulu Gwala, Harry's daughter, had to wrap a blanket around herself when she menstruated, they wouldn't give her a pad. I, myself, was arrested - no, sentenced, and they wouldn't give me pads, and I had to use newspapers. Can you think of a worse thing that can happen to a woman? You washed - we washed clothes, so you pick up the blood from your and put it into the washing. It was horrible, and terribly demeaning. And the other aspect of detainees was that they would let you not wash, you would stand for hours. I think, Steph, you probably stood for three days without a wash. And the smell of your body, you know, you are not washing, and then you go to the toilet, you are not allowed to wash, there is no toilet paper, and all these horrendous things happen to woman, and your self confidence went. If mothers were detained, leaving their children behind, it was horrendous. I went crazy 10 days detention leaving my three children behind, and Sathee(?) was two days old when that happened. So, Nester Basel(?), I think you ladies haven't met some of the old women in the communist party trial, with Braam Fisher. Six women were detained, and Nester was one of them. Served long sentences. She served three years and had absolute hell being away from her three young daughters. Her children have never forgiven her. I think just one is coming around now. And then you read Ruth First's book on her 117 days. And her detention. I mean if you read that, I think they made a film of it too, isn't it. She was suicidal with detention. So, detention was no picnic as I say. It
was feared. In fact, we in the underground, were told if somebody is detained, don't assume that they would not break, assume they would break and move out. June the 16th, 1976, brought the detention of our children following the massive uprising. They were several pregnancies due to rape by the detaining officers. And I knew about this because I was working in the Harry Gwala trial and had to go and see witnesses like Helen Joseph and Lilian Ngoye. And Lilian brought some of the mothers to me and said talk to them, Phyllis, let them do something about these children. It was too late to abort. So, they wouldn't. They were - you see, they feared the special branch. No, Phyllis, go away, go away, we are not going to do anything about it. So, we lived in that very difficult period, detention, isolation. Then subsequently of course you had all the deaths in detention. And you know, that was a strong list, I think the TRC has a list of about 73 people, who were killed in political detention. There are many more. At first when I thought about how could we deal with women in detention and fear of rape and fear of violence and all that, and I thought it be best to employee women officers, but then I was held in Durban Central here, in an all women prison, and my God, what horrors they were. They kicked your food, they spat at you. I can't tell you, I don't know how, I was the only "Indian" and 400 African women, mindless treatment we all had. And African women did it, except one, Marge Dlamini. And when I said to her, "What are you doing in this place?", she said, "Phyllis, if I don't stay here, people forget that there was something better outside". Anyway, so we will have to think about
who looks after women detainees. The wardresses now, these were women wardresses in Kroonstad gave Dorothy Nembe boiled hard mielies with her teeth all removed, sadists. I mean, how do you eat those big mielies without teeth? She was starving and hungry and a letter to me asking for R250,00 to get false teeth so that she could eat are very painful memories. I suffered a banning order, five years at a time, two banning orders. The second banning order was accompanied with a house arrest order from March 1966 to March 1976. I was pregnant at the time, I was first banned and restricted to the magisterial area of Durban. There is a man in the house here. There is a man in the house. (Pause) Okay. Overnight my job as a teacher was ended because you couldn't enter school premises, you couldn't enter educational premises, you couldn't go to libraries, you had six pages of restriction, I am sure all of you know about those things. And later, with a husband on Robben Island, I was expected to care for three children, it was a horrendous punitive measure, worse, the Minister of Justice, that is a misnomer, would not give reasons for this invasion of my limited rights. Instead the special branch asked me to make application for a child welfare grant, and what an insult, I refused. I asked in a letter to him how could an unarmed pregnant mother of two young boys, five years and four years, threaten the military might of the regime? They boasted they were the greatest army from Cape to Cairo, until of course they met the Cubans in 1988 at Quito Codovales, and thank God for that. When the minister replied, he said it was not in the interests of security of the state to divulge the
reasons for my restriction orders. So, for 10 years, not knowing why, I had to report my presence to the police every Monday. One morning I failed to report, when Shah, my son, had an asthmatic attack during my law exams. I was sentenced to 10 days, those were 10 days that shook my world. I want to know why I was banned, what do my police files say and I must tell you when I visited the once they had so much in my files, I want the police to return all my stuff they removed from my home, especially my short stories. Exile for me for was from the 23rd of July 1977 to the 26th of June 1990. I must tell you as an attorney I take statements from everybody and I had interviewed somebody who said, "We were given the death penalty", I said, "When?", he couldn't remember. I said, "When were you released from prison?", you would think that somebody getting the death penalty will remember that, he couldn't remember. Can you remember the days when your children were born? No. What can you remember? Says nothing. When did you go into exile? The date, time, place. So, exile sticks in your mind like nothing else does. It is a hard life. Two women helped me go into exile, one was Solvey Piper, she was here yesterday with the Turners, she kept me in her home for a night, and the other was a black woman and I am so sorry I have forgotten her name. You know, I say here that one of the things we have to do was to forget, we dealt with Mrs Magwaza, we had to forget her, or we would be given another name, you know, and we had to forget her. Well, she took me across, first of all she had me in her room in Clermont, a tin shack, with a huge hole at the bottom. And she said to me if you walk across they will
be able to see you, so sit here. And she left her pot for me to do a job, there were no toilets so I couldn't go out to that, and a tin of Milo. And Milo was so expensive in those days, still is, you know. And she made sure that I - the quality of comradeship that I have enjoyed, you know, I could write books about it. And this lady, I wish she hears me and I wish she would come and see me, because I need to thank her. What worries me with the murder and mayhem in Natal, she might be dead. A young girl, she could have been about 25 maybe. My driver was too tired, and she wanted to sleep. I had to drive during the petrol restrictions, and you know if you were caught carrying petrol, oh my, and I couldn't be caught, and we carried petrol, that was illegal. I filled up at Escort late at night, terrified out of my wits. Those who planned my trip said we should cross at Ficksburg, because that is where the river is so narrow looking at a map. And one of those people who plotted my trip was Ric Turner. And I mean they forgot that the sides of the river are so steep and I had to go down those sides losing my gloves, losing my shoes and losing my socks. And I hit the river, ice cold morning at five - half past five, a freezing morning. And of course, without shoes, my feet had to trample frost, it was the first time I heard -I knew what was frost. Some advocates' reading of my self imposed exile laughed about it. Well, I hope that exile is never their lot. It is never but never self imposed. That statement is stupid. Ask my friend here. We were underground operatives and we could not operate if our cell was intact. And we could operate, sorry. If a member of our cell was arrested, the others had to go
into hiding. I was ordered to leave the country and I left my three children without telling them I was leaving and the counsel who laughed at me should try that. I thought exile was the ultimate punishment, until I lost my son. You exist in exile like your body is here in Harare, Lesotho, and all, but your heart is at home. Everything that happens, ask Nosiswe, she will tell you about how she met us in exile. What was home for us? We didn't have - you know, we didn't own any property, or anything. There was no home. We were tenants. We would have to come back if ever and find a house to rent. For some of my comrades, it was under the bridges that they were, you know, had lived. It was in buses, you know. For some they had come from gail to exile. And the worse thing that can happen to you in exile, I think is to lose somebody. Oliver Tambo lost his mother in exile. And he was, you know, oh so hurt by it. I lost my mother and my brother in exile. It is very very painful. It will take a book to describe exile and more. Mandla Langa, my comrade, tells of his pained exile in his new book, "The Naked Song", I recommend it to you. Many writers have written of the pain of exile. I was 50 in exile. 50 years old. I am nearly 70 now. Can you imagine the pain of our 10 year old children in exile? Somebody asked why were there so many suicides in the list of our dead the ANC submission to the TRC, I would say being in exile was a big part of that, you know, one ought to explain it. At 50 I have stood at the banks of the Caledon River with its sandy belly open to the elements, with only a trickle of water for river, and wanted to return home. Again and again. It was Braam Fisher who
had said, "Better a South African prison than exile". You stand there and shall I, shall I not, shall I? And you ask the Caledon River and of course it doesn't answer. A exile was compounded by a parcel bomb that was sent to Cannon John Osmos, it was opened in my home, and I can't show you my backside, but it is full of potted holes. I can't wear a bathing costume. Right. I have lost my ear, my eardrum has gone. And I lost 7 teeth. Four of my comrades were very badly hurt. The church paid for John's medical care, while the ANC took care of the five of us. You don't wish me to describe the pain of that, do you? Thank you. I was phoned daily in exile at 10 pm, somebody employed by the dirty tricks department, who would say, "Is that Mrs Naidoo, we are coming to get you". "Ons sal jou kry". Can you believe that someone's father, brother or son, would do a mindless stupid job like that? And can you believe that he was paid by the state, your money, taxpayers money paid for him to be stupid. I was sent to Hungary for medical care by the ANC and Hungary was in the Eastern Block. And I want to tell you that their solidarity was a very precious experience. My son, Sargan, was studying agricultural engineering there, it was Hungary's solidarity for the ANC. There were 26 ANC students there, Sargan spend eight years, and for the eight years they took care of his food, his learning, his accommodation, you have no idea what solidarity we experienced. But those countries were not as bad as the African countries. And the solidarity we experienced in the poverty of Africa, was something else. You have my book with you, and you will see what I say there. My 11 year old daughter was phoned to say
that they were coming to Maseru to finish the job they hadn't finished. She thought it was my comrades playing the fool. When she enquired further, she found that it was the boers, and the boers I mean this bloody apartheid sods, it was the SB threatening to bomb our home. I was in the UK. She fled the home unlocked, taking our dog with her. We had to move her but fast from Lesotho. While was I the UK I received a registered post, a letter purporting to come from the Lesotho Government, declaring me a prohibited immigrant. And asking me not to return to Lesotho. I was surprised because I had just got a new contract. Through the ... (inaudible) ... we found out that it was a hoax, it was the South African Government or the regime doing this. The Lesotho Government wanted me back immediately. I was given 24 hours to leave Maseru In September of 1983. The justice department was told, "If Mrs Naidoo is not in the plane to Maputo at 7 am on Saturday, you will find a dead body". The government asked me to leave saying they could not protect me. I just had a new contract with government and was reluctant to leave, but when my clients told me of the border problems, all the borders were closed, South Africa closed the borders, I was forced to change my mind. South Africa refused oxygen for patients in the Queen II Hospital, patients were waiting in the theatre for oxygen and they wouldn't let the oxygen come in. I had to leave. Then the Maseru massacre I have described in the book that you have got, I would like you to look at some of these hair-raising pictures, especially these commissioners here. I hope you will all have my book on the massacre. I want to share with you the women who died there, despite the order
not to kill women and children. They, the SADF, explained it as cross-fire killings. This commission should confront Constant Viljoen of Freedom Front fame who led the SADF into the cross-border raid in Lesotho. He needs to talk with the families that he decimated on that night. And there were all - they were all about, most of them in the Transkei area. And of course the little children that he killed. And you will see in this book what happened to our money. He stole our money, they stole money of ours, we had over R68 000,00 somebody said, but certainly over R60 000,00 was in a mielie bag in Gase's home ... (inaudible) ... That money wasn't there after they went. In Sydney Magandela's house, SACTU money, couple of thousands were there. They have to tell us what happened. You see, if police use 10 bullets, they have to go to their commander to account for the bullets. What was the report that came from the SADF raid, how many bullets were used? We need to know all these things. Then lastly, the murder of my son, Sargan(?). My son born in 1961, I think you can read this for yourself. Do you want me to read it? (Pause) My son Sargan was born on the 4th of April 1961. Together with his colleague, Moss, were employed on the ANC farm at Chongela(?), near Lusaka in Zambia. Sargan was the manager and Moss a senior mechanic. Both were assassinated by Tex, on the night of the 15th of April 1989, 11 days after Sargan's 28th birthday. Tex from Brits was found at Livingstone by the Zambian Police. He being the first South African to arrive at Livingstone the Zambian Police were suspicious. Most refugees came via Swaziland and Botswana at that time. They duly informed
the ANC, who interviewed Tex, he confessed that he was brought by Paulos from Com... (inaudible) ... building in Pretoria via Rhodesia. His orders would come later after his military training. I have read Tex' statement given to his interrogators. No one in the ANC found it strange that he was the only survivor after a Unita ambush. He was badly wounded and he needed to be hospitalized. Later he was sent to Hungary and then the GDR, East Germany, for treatment. When he returned he was sent to the ANC farm, where he would have plenty of green vegetables and fresh milk. How well we took care of this agent. Two days after the assassination, he was arrested and charged with murder. He died from AIDS before the trial commenced. No post-mortem was held to test the voracity of AIDS. Sargan was interviewed on BBC about the farm in 1988. We all heard it. My sister in Senegal heard it. Following this interview, Pik Botha in parliament attacked my son, saying he was not the manager of the farm, but the commander of our military stores. Subsequently European parliamentarians looked the farm over and Sargan invited them to look for the military hardware. They did not find anything. Who ordered the killing of my son and Moss? Two senior comrades responsible for feeding the ANC in Zambia and Angola, and at times Zimbabwe. Where did Pik Botha get his information? Did he order the killing of my son? If he confesses to this, I would like to speak to him to tell him about the terrorists he killed, the so-called terrorists he killed. When I asked Sargan in Hungary in 1979, 18 years, why he had chosen when he was 18 years, why he had chosen agriculture, we could not grow a potted
plant in our flat I reminded him, "What does South Africa need most, Mum?" he asked, "Food, Mum, food", he said. "We must feed our people, we cannot build a new South Africa on a empty stomach". What can I tell mothers who lose their children. To compound my pain I have recently lost my second son, Shah, through a medical accident. It is cruel and internal pain. Both my sons have contributed their youth and their lives to the struggle for freedom. Yes, I am very proud. It is a painful, very painful pride. Now, I would just like to read this last portion, it is not in your -
"For all my comrades we left behind in Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique ..."
you know their dead bodies are buried there -
"... Botswana, Swaziland, France, Moscow, Lesotho, Cuba, and in other places, I bring you the message through Faheema(?) who said, 'When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today'."
Thank you. Do you want me to read that last portion again?
"When you go home tell them of us and say, 'For your tomorrow we gave our today'."
CHAIRMAN: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: I think today has been a very special day for us. We have heard the stories of women ranging from 1960 right up until very very recently. And the sadness is that in this particular province, the violence still continues. And women still bear the effect of that violence. The women who have come here today have come here very - with so much humility and with so much strength, that they put some of us to shame and all we can say is that the experience has been a very very moving one. And it is on this kind of story that we have built South Africa. It was yesterday's todays which have made the future we have today and we remember those who did not come back, those who have died, and those whose stories have not, in fact, been told. Many people thought the Spuiker van Wyk's, the General van den Berg's, they never thought that this day would come when they might have to be accountable for what they have done. The day has arrived, and the time is now for them to come forward. And if they don't do it, someone else will come forward to tell the story of what they have done. We would like to thank all of you who have shared this day with us. We know it has been a long one, but we are very grateful for it and very humbled. We thank you for having participated in it with us, and for all those who have contributed to making it happen. We now end this session of the special hearing on women, and we would like to call upon those women who have not yet come forward to do so, and we remember those who have died and we would ask you to observe a special moment of silence before we end the day's proceedings.