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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
bakkiea pick-up truckReferences
Balaclava groupDuring the period 1991 to 1994, men clad in balaclavas undertook ongoing arson, shooting and armed robbery attacks on ordinary residents and ANC supporters in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Some attacks targeted individuals, others whole communities. Local residents called the attackers 'Balaclavas', although evidence suggests that there were several groups participating in such attacks. The Commission found that persons associated with the Lingelethu West town council, former Special Constables, persons involved in the taxi conflicts, and criminal elements all played a role.References
bantustana homeland or territory - the 'independent' territories of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda, Ciskei (TBVC), and self-governing territories of Lebowa, Gazankulu, KwaZulu, KaNgwane, KwaNdebeleReferences
Bergville attackOn 20 June 1993, IFP supporters attacked ANC supporters during the launch of an ANC branch at Woodford Stadium, near Bergville, Natal. Five ANC supporters were killed. A further eight ANC supporters were killed in attacks on homes following the aborted launch. More than 50 youths were forced to flee the area.References
Bethal 18In 1977, 86 PAC members were arrested on various charges related to furthering the aims of the PAC and 'fomenting revolution'. Eighteen accused, including PAC leader Zephaniah Mothopeng, were convicted of these charges in 1978. The trial was held in the small rural town of Bethal, Tvl, in order to isolate the accused and reduce media coverage. It was also held in camera. By the time the trial opened, four of those detained in connection with the trial had died in detention. It is alleged that all the accused had been severely tortured while awaiting trial.References
Bisho massacreOn 7 September 1992, the ANC, SACP and COSATU organised a march from King William's Town to the Ciskei capital of Bisho to demand free political activity in the homeland and the removal of then military ruler of the Ciskei, Brigadier Oupa Gqozo. Protesters had been prohibited by court order from entering Bisho. When part of the crowd tried to gain access to Bisho, Ciskei Defence Force (CDF) troops opened fire, killing 30 people, including one member of the CDF. Approximately 200 people were wounded in the shooting. Two members of the former CDF were refused amnesty.References
Black Catsa gang of IFP-aligned vigilantes that conducted attacks on ANC members, principally in Wesselton and Ermelo, Eastern Transvaal, from 1990 to 1992. The gang, which received military training from Inkatha at the Mkuze camp in KwaZulu Natal in the early1990s, was supported by certain community councillors, Caprivi trainees and members of the SAP.References
black spotblack-owned land surrounded by white-owned land References
Boipatong massacreForty-five people died and 27 others were seriously injured on 17 June 1992 when several hundred IFP-supporting residents of the KwaMadala hostel launched attacks on the Boipatong community, near Vanderbijlpark, Tvl, during a period of escalating violence between the ANC and IFP in the area. Victims included at least nine children, two babies and 17 women, one of whom was pregnant. Residents were raped, hacked, stabbed, shot, beaten and disembowelled. This attack was allegedly planned and carried out with the aid of the police.References
Bongolethu ThreeThree children were shot dead by named members of the SAP in Bongolethu, Outdshoorn, Cape, on 17 June 1985, when the police members concealed themselves inside the home of a policeman who had been attacked, and opened fire on those entering or approaching the house.References
Bonteheuwel Military WingA semi-formal clandestine group of mainly teenagers and school pupils who engaged in militant protest actions in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town. References
Bophuthatswana invasionOn 11 March 1994 hundreds of AWB members drove into Bophuthatswana following a request for assistance from Chief Mangope to help restore control in the homeland in the face of a strike by civil servants demanding that the Mangope government introduce political reforms and adjust to the changing political circumstances in South Africa. Under the leadership of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche, AWB members randomly attacked Mafikeng residents, killing 42 people. Three AWB members were shot dead by members of the Bophuthatswana Defence Force. References
Bruntville attacksBetween November 1990 and December 1993, hostilities between IFP-supporting hostel-dwellers and the mainly ANC-supporting township residents in Bruntville, near Mooi River, Natal, frequently resulted in violent conflict, with lives lost and houses destroyed in arson attacks. On 8 November 1990 , approximately 1200 hostel-dwellers carried out a pre-dawn attack on Bruntville residents following the killing of an IFP supporter. Residents alleged that the police assisted the attackers and failed to respond to warnings that attacks were imminent. Sixteen residents were killed. Fifteen hundred people fled their homes. On 10 June 1991 , six people died in two days of fighting when hostel-dwellers attacked local residents. At least five houses of ANC supporters were burnt down, while more than half the population fled the township. On 3 and 4 December 1991 , a large armed group of hostel-dwellers, supported by the security forces, launched two attacks on ANC supporters. Eighteen ANC supporters were killed, and at least a hundred homes were burnt or damaged. References
Buffel(Afrikaans: buffalo) armoured personnel carrier used by SADF and SAPReferences
Caprivi traineesA state-sponsored paramilitary unit set up to provide the IFP with a covert military capacity. The trainees were given paramilitary training by the SADF in the Caprivi Strip during 1986 and were later deployed in areas around KwaZulu-Natal against the political enemies of the state and Inkatha, namely the UDF and ANC and their allies.References
Casspirpolice riot-control and combat vehicleReferences
Chamberlain (Jacobs, Durban)the scene of a limpet mine explosion on 9 January 1986, in which a member of the SAP was fatally wounded and two workers and two policemen were injured. The mine, placed by MK operatives, exploded at an electricity sub-station in Chamberlain after an earlier decoy explosion had lured police and workers to the scene. Two MK operatives were granted amnesty for the incident.References
Chimora settlement attacksOn 16 January 1992, IFP supporters, allegedly assisted by members of the KwaZulu Police (KZP), attacked the ANC-dominated Chimora informal settlement at Umlazi, Durban. Six people, including one KZP member, were killed in the fighting, and several homes were destroyed by fire.References
Church Street bombing, PretoriaOn 29 May 1983, MK members detonated an explosive device outside the administrative headquarters of the South African Air Force (SAAF) in Church Street, Pretoria. According to ANC policy, security force personnel and military installations were targeted in a systematic bombing campaign. Twenty-one people were killed and 219 injured in this attack. Eleven of the dead were SAAF employees. Two others were the MK operatives who had executed the attack. The remaining casualties were civilians. Evidence before the Committee revealed that up to 84 of the injured had been SAAF employees. Three MK members were granted amnesty for their roles in the event.References
City Rocks shootingOn 26 March 1986, police opened fire on a crowd of people protesting against police brutality at City Rocks stadium in Winterveld, Bophthatswana, killing 11 people and injuring many others. In the aftermath, police allegedly assaulted fleeing people, dragged them out of houses and subjected them to severe battering, both at the scene and at GaRankuwa police station.References
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