TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
JOHANNESBURG CHILDREN'S HEARING
NAME: MATHADI MOREMI
MS MKHIZE: I would ask Mathadi Moremi to come forward please. Mathadi, I would like you to stand up please.
MATHADI MOREMI: (sworn states)
MS MKHIZE: Tom Manthata will assist you in presenting your story.
MR MANTHATA: I greet you Christene. I believe that you are tired, since you have been here the whole day. We will try and assist you and quickly go through your story.
Could you tell us what you experienced in 1982 when you were speared at that time?
MS MOREMI: It was during the night at about ten o'clock. I heard a loud noise outside, that was the windows shattering.
At the end these people were at the door, they kicked the door and it opened. People went through the door, that is when I pulled blankets off my face. I saw these people at the door, I covered myself with the blankets. Then I felt things stabbing me.
I thought it was a fork that stabbed me. They stabbed me for the second time. I rolled over the other side of the bed. They grabbed me. Whilst doing that, my brother grabbed one of the spears, then they rushed out of the house.
One of them fell on the front stoep and he left the spear behind. That is what I observed on that day.
MR MANTHATA: How old were you at that time?
MS MOREMI: I was 16 years at that time.
MR MANTHATA: Where were your parents when this incident took place?
MS MOREMI: I was not at home. Where we were, we were in a shack, the three of us, my sister and my brother. My sister was taking night duty at that time, it was the two of us left in that shack.
MR MANTHATA: Where were your parents at that time?
MS MOREMI: It was not in the street where we lived, where my parents lived.
MR MANTHATA: When this incident took place, what happened during the day or during the week prior to this incident?
MS MOREMI: We left school early, I was still attending school at that time, we left school early and we came home. There were people on guard during the night.
On that day, there were people who used to stand guard on that day, were not on duty I may say so.
MR MANTHATA: At that time the patrol was on the alert that people might attack, hence you had people on guard during the night?
MS MOREMI: That is correct.
MR MANTHATA: Do you think that people were on the alert that people might attack them? Who was attacking you?
MS MOREMI: Personally I cannot tell whether they were Xhoza's or Zulu's. After they had kicked open the door, one of them said, they are asleep, that is when they started stabbing me.
I cannot understand Xhoza or Zulu.
MR MANTHATA: You do not even know where they came from?
MS MOREMI: No, I don't have any recollection of where they came from.
MR MANTHATA: Your sister or your brother, did they manage to take you to hospital?
MS MOREMI: Yes, they phoned an ambulance. It came very late and then it took us to the hospital.
MR MANTHATA: Are you referring to Sebokeng hospital?
MS MOREMI: Yes, that is the hospital I am referring to.
MR MANTHATA: You gave us a hospital document.
MS MOREMI: I received letters that they were going to check documents at the hospital, that I had to sign the letter. I faxed the other one, the other I posted.
MR MANTHATA: During that night when you were stabbed, was it only you who sustained such injuries?
MS MOREMI: No, there were quite a number of us. Others passed away.
MR MANTHATA: Others who suffered the same or rather experienced the same incident, were they youth or was it the whole community, parents and young children?
MS MOREMI: It included parents and the children, even elder sisters.
MR MANTHATA: As a community, how did you overcome this incident or how did you respond to this incident?
MS MOREMI: May you repeat the question please?
MR MANTHATA: As this incident happened to various people or rather a number of people in Boipatong, what did the community do against those who attacked you?
MS MOREMI: There are those who assisted with groceries, however, I received nothing. Some were receiving funds, some received groceries. Brenda sent a cheque to Boipatong and it was deposited into Boipatong Massacre's account.
I was told a list was compiled.
MR MANTHATA: We heard that those who attacked the Boipatong inhabitants were from KwaMadela hostel.
MS MOREMI: Yes, that we heard afterwards.
MR MANTHATA: Those who stayed at KwaMadela, what happened to them, or rather what did the community do to them?
MS MOREMI: Are you referring to the Boipatong residents?
MR MANTHATA: Yes, I am referring to them.
MS MOREMI: I do not know what happened to them, I left the place because schools were disturbed, or rather school attendance was disturbed.
MR MANTHATA: Are you referring to school in Boipatong?
MS MOREMI: Yes, I left because we no longer attended school. I didn't attend school for quite a long time. I usually came in and left school.
MR MANTHATA: For how long did school attendance stop due to those attacks?
MS MOREMI: Schools were just about to go on recess or holidays. We suddenly stopped attending school and we decided to resume school whilst the schools reopened.
MR MANTHATA: Are you still residing in Boipatong?
MS MOREMI: Yes.
MR MANTHATA: What is the situation at the moment between Boipatong and the hostel dwellers?
MS MOREMI: There is good relations between the two parties. What separates us is the garage and the tarred road.
MR MANTHATA: What you are saying is that there is no longer conflict between the two parties?
MS MOREMI: That is correct.
MR MANTHATA: During this time, what would you say you've lost due to this attack?
MS MOREMI: What worries me is only one aspect. There are times when it is cold that this wounds become swollen and then when I scratch them, they sort of become swollen again. That is my only problem.
MR MANTHATA: At Boipatong, there is a group referred to as Kulumani, assisting those who were traumatised during that time.
MS MOREMI: They have an office there for people who sustained injuries. They did form a committee for them to levy their grievances at this office.
MR MANTHATA: How are they assisting you at this time?
MS MOREMI: On Tuesday or on Monday I attended a meeting. The others who sustained injuries or those who had their relatives dying, due to this incident, they said if it was not late they would come and levy their grievances to this committee or rather group that was established in Boipatong to see how they can assist them.
MR MANTHATA: They haven't yet assisted them, they are still trying to gather those who sustained injuries and families of those who have since died?
MS MOREMI: Ever since I have made a statement, I did not know whether these sisters who formed this group, did assist or not.
MR MANTHATA: It is true, they might have not yet assisted them in any way any one would have chosen, however, to try and bring together those who were injured and rather talk of their treatment, that is the first step to try and heal the Boipatong community.
I have no further questions, I will refer you back to the Chairperson.
MS MKHIZE: Thank you Tom. Christene, thank you very much for coming.
MS MOREMI: I thank you Mr Tom Manthata.
MS MKHIZE: Okay, thank you very much Christene for coming forward. You are representing young people who went through a massacre which happened at that time when South Africa was moving towards democracy and as a result it shocked the whole country and the world.
In Dr Coleman's presentation, it is reflected that in the 17th of June 1992, of the 45 who died in Boipatong, 16 were women, including pregnant women and 9 were children, including two babies.
So you have come forward to represent that community, to share with us the pain that young people were exposed to and we thank you very much.
Having had an opportunity to interact with you, we are hoping that that community will benefit through your courage of coming forward and we will be thought of as we negotiate community based reparation and rehabilitation programmes. Thank you, very much.