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The glossary provides an explanation of places, groups, vernacular terms and events discussed in the TRC hearings.

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Select 'references' to view references to each term in transcripts, lists and the Final Report. Select 'export' to download the database on this page.

Glossary

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NameDescription
Mdantsane bus boycottOn 18 July 1983, a boycott of the partly government-owned Ciskei Transport Corporation (CTC) buses started in Mdantsane, Ciskei, in protest at an 11 per cent fare increase. The boycott lasted until 15 March 1985, when it was called off at a mass meeting held by the Committee of Ten. During the boycott, members of the Ciskei security forces, backed up by vigilantes, carried out assaults and attacks on commuters to force them to use the buses. On 22 July 1983, five people were shot and wounded by Ciskei security forces at the Fort Jackson railway station. On 3 August, a state of emergency was declared in Mdantsane and a night curfew imposed. Meetings of more than four people were banned and people were prohibited from walking in groups larger than four. The following day Ciskei forces, with orders to stop commuters boarding the trains at all costs, opened fire on commuters at three Mdantsane railway stations. At least six commuters died and many were injured. Two more people were shot dead by Ciskei police within days of the railway station shootings.References
Mkambati Forestsee Pondoland revoltReferences
Molefe homestead attackEleven ANC youths were killed and seven injured in an attack on the homestead of Chief Molefe at Nqutu, KwaZulu, near Vryheid, Natal, on 7 November 1993. Chief Molefe was part of the Council of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa), an organisation of traditional leaders aligned with the UDF and ANC. The attack was allegedly motivated by Molefe's refusal to call up men in his area to defend the IFP. An IFP leader was implicated in the attack.References
Motherwell car bombThree police officers and an informer were killed when their car was blown up by fellow police officers in Motherwell, outside Port Elizabeth, during 1989, to prevent possible revelations of police involvement in the killing of the Cradock Four. The blast was initially thought to have been an MK operation, and it was alleged that the ANC had claimed responsibility for it. However, an investigation led to the trial and conviction of senior members of the SAP Security Branch.References
Mpumalanga attacksThe Mpumalanga area, near Hammarsdale, Natal, was torn by violent political conflict between UDF and Inkatha supporters from 1986 onwards, after approximately 15 to 20 Caprivi trainees were installed as members of the KwaZulu Police in the area. The trainees never underwent any KZP training or followed proper admissions procedures, not even filling in KZP application forms. They were issued with KZP appointment certificates and with official police firearms. Under the guise of being official law enforcement agents, they engaged in large-scale hit squad activity in the area for the next two years, directing their attacks against those perceived to support the UDF and ANC. During 1989 about 1000 homes were badly damaged or destroyed in the violence that devastated Mpumalanga, leaving many dead and thousands homeless. Approximately 54 people died in political conflict between 1 November and 10 December 1989. Violence erupted again in the area in February 1990 following the unbanning of political organisations and the release of Nelson Mandela, resulting in the deaths of ten people in seven days, including a member of the SAP. References
Mtengwane attackOn 17 October 1991, gunmen armed with AK47 rifles attacked three homes in the IFP-supporting area of Mtengwane, Murchison, near Port Shepstone, Natal. Six IFP supporters and a child were killed in the attacks. An inquest found seven ANC supporters responsible. By September 1996, no one had been charged, and four of the seven suspects were dead.References
Municipal PoliceThe Municipal Police force was created to defend black local authorities in townships across the country and to bolster the security forces' efforts to deal with the climate of 'ungovernability' that had gripped the country in the mid-1980s. Approximately 14 000 Municipal Police officers were recruited, trained and deployed in urban and rural towns across the country where unrest was strongest. They rapidly became associated with violations both on and off duty. Between April 1988 and August 1987, Municipal Police members had been charged with crimes including murder, robbery, assault, theft and rape. Known also as 'greenflies', 'greenbeans' or ' amaTshaka ', the Municipal Police were attached to the local authorities, initially falling under the Department of Constitutional Development. In 1989 they were incorporated into the SAP.References
Murchison attackstwo attacks on ANC-supporting families in the Murchison area, near Port Shepstone, Natal, in the first half of 1993. 5 April 1993 - Ten ANC supporters were killed and two were injured when hooded attackers carried out a pre-dawn attack on a home in KwaSithole, Murchison, allegedly in an attempt to disrupt the peace process in the area. The attackers threw a hand grenade into the house and opened fire with AK47 and .303 rifles. 20 June 1993 - Thirteen ANC supporters, including three children, were killed and two people were injured when hooded gunmen armed with 9 mm and .38 Special pistols attacked three homes at Murchison.References
mutiherbal medicineReferences
Mzelemu killingsNine female members of the ANC-supporting Mzelemu family were stabbed, shot and stoned to death by named IFP supporters, allegedly on instruction from a local IFP leader, in an attack at their home at Gamalakhe, KwaZulu, near Port Shepstone, Natal, on 2 April 1994. The attackers were armed with KwaZulu Police-issue firearms, and destroyed the house in the attack. The family was targeted after one member had addressed mourners at the funeral of an ANC supporter.References
Nangalembe night vigil massacreOn 12 January 1991, 45 people were killed by members of the Khetisi Kheswa gang at a night vigil for ANCYL member Christopher Nangalembe. Gang members had been responsible for killing Mr Nangalembe on 5 January in political conflict that stemmed from the appearance of gang leader Khetisi Kheswa before a 'people's court', which included Mr Nangalembe, at which Kheswa was called to account for the death of a young woman and other crimes. In the attack on the night vigil, gang members opened fire and lobbed hand grenades at the gathered mourners. Eleven gang members, including Khetisi Kheswa, were acquitted of charges relating to the attack, due to lack of evidence. The attack precipitated the formation of ANC self-defence units (SDUs) in the Vaal area. References
Ncalu attacksIntense political fighting broke out between ANC and IFP supporters in Ncalu, Ixopo, Natal, in late June 1992, allegedly sparked by the earlier killing of a woman from the IFP-dominated area of Maweni and the burning of several homes by youths believed to be ANC supporters. More than 100 people fled Ncalu after 20 homes were burnt down.References
Ndwedwe (KwaZulu, near Durban)saw ongoing violent conflict between supporters of the ANC and the IFP as the struggle for political dominance in KwaZulu/Natal intensified after the unbanning of political organisations in February 1990. Between April 1990 and April 1994, conditions in Ndwedwe were marked by severe intimidation, politically motivated killings and arson attacks by both the ANC and the IFP, forcing families to flee the area in large numbers. See also Sonkombo arson attacks.References
Ndwedwe election attackOn 12 April 1994, five IFP supporters attacked nine employees of a private company who were delivering IEC election pamphlets in Ndwedwe, KwaZulu, near Durban. The nine employees were accused of being ANC supporters and were severely tortured. Eight were killed; the survivor was badly injured and took three days to crawl back to safety. One IFP member was convicted for the attack.References
necklacea car tyre filled with petrol used mainly by UDF supporters to burn political opponents, especially those regarded as collaborators and police informers References
Ngquza Hillsee Pondoland revoltReferences
Nietverdiend ambushIn June 1986, a Security Branch agent purporting to be an MK operative recruited ten COSAS for military training. On 26 June 1986, he drove them into an ambush at Nietverdiend near the Botswana border. There they were injected with sedatives and placed in a motor vehicle that was then driven off an embankment. All ten were killed when the vehicle caught alight. Eight operatives from SADF Special Forces, Northern and Western Transvaal Security Branches were granted amnesty for the operationReferences
Njobokazi attackOn 18 March 1990, unknown persons, believed to be UDF supporters, attacked an Inkatha induna's house at Njobokazi, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu, near Durban, with AK47s and grenades. Fifteen people were killed, including two KwaZulu Special Constables. Several homes were burnt down.References
Nonqulwanasee Pondoland revoltReferences
Ntlonze massacreOn 12 December 1962, armed Poqo members, on their way to assassinate Chief Kaiser Matanzima in Cofimvaba, Transkei, were intercepted by police. Seven Poqo members were killed in the encounter and three policemen seriously injured.References
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