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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 3 of Episode 10

06:06Land of fun, sun, and Sol Kerzner, but something was wrong in the state of Bophuthatswana. // Bophuthatswana was the National Party’s shining example to people of the world that Verwoerd’s dream of separate development could work. Established in 1972 this patchwork of seven bits of land was ruled for eighteen years by Lucas Mangope. With the aid of South Africa’s military establishment, the world’s richest platinum mine and a set of casinos he dictated the fortunes of over two million people. As the Truth Commission found out this week it was not a happy homeland. Full Transcript
06:43Frieda Mabalane was 15 years old when she was stabbed and burnt to death in 1985. Mabalane was a Standard five pupil in Vryburg, and by all accounts a dedicated UDF and youth activist in Huhudi until she was named an impimpi, informer, and her comrades dealt with her. Frieda’s grandmother, mother, sister have only begun dealing with the pain of her brutal death.Full Transcript and References
07:07That night they came to fetch her they took her next to the stores. The kid came back. They poured her with paraffin or petrol gallon and she was burnt all over, I took her and asked for assistance from Mr. Shange. Mr. Shange said my car was not OK; we’ll have to ask from brother Neo so that he could help you. Neo took us to the police station, at the police station they took us to the hospital, when we arrived at the hospital they sent us to Kimberley. My daughter died in Kimberley. // Mrs. Mabalane is there anything else you want to add, or can I go on to your daughter? // You may ask my daughter to testify.Full Transcript
08:33In your statement you said before they burnt Frieda they first stabbed her with a knife? // Yes, that’s true. // And you said the person who stabbed her is Zero Thebe. Is Zero Thebe still around? // Yes, he’s still around.Full Transcript
08:58Zero Thebe was accused number one in the case of Frieda’s death by burning. It was dismissed for lack of evidence. Zero believes he was right to have stabbed Frieda. The township was tense and any threat to the Huhudi community had to be wiped out. // In the evening we went to guard Mister Hoffman Galeng’s house. It was already on Monday. Sylvestor had already been killed by this people. On the following morning when we’re still sitting Frieda came along and she wrote something where she was. I asked her to come to me. And she tried to run away and I went to her and see what she had written. And, she had refused, and when I asked her again she refused again. I took out a knife and I stabbed her and she ran away, and I took what she had written on. I read it, and I gave the people what I read. It was our names on that list and I said to those people, ‘do you see how we get killed?’ Full Transcript
10:02In fact by then the situation was very, very tense so that I thought that to stab her was the only way to get what she’s got, like that list of our names. If I couldn’t do that maybe those people who were named could have been also killed. So, I was trying to save the community on what she was trying to do.Full Transcript
10:31Thin lines between right and wrong. Zero Thebe named Frieda an impimpi, he stabbed her. No-one knows whether he took part in burning her. To this day he cannot say whether he has any regrets. // Yes …. No, I mean, I can’t answer that. I mean, it’s quite difficult. I don’t know how to say … really.Full Transcript
11:03Many of the people testifying this week came from Huhudi township in the small town of Vryburg. Here, vigilante groups worked with the police to maintain the authority of councillors who had lost the support of the local community. The present mayor of Vryburg, Hoffman Galeng was chair of the UDF in the Northern Cape in 1986. // My house was under attack on a number of occasions. The last time it was burned to ashes, it was on the 26th of November, but it went all through those attacks of petrol bombs at different dates. // But it wasn’t burnt on the 12th of July? // No, it was finally burnt to ashes on the 26th of November 1985. In fact all our efforts, even during those times, was to try and point out to these people that they were not and they are not our targets, they were not our enemies, most of them were family, we’re one people. So, despite of all those things we managed every now and then going back to them. We pleaded with them and towards the end of eighties then they ...moreFull Transcript and References
12:48In Vryburg we met with known vigilante members, but none of them was prepared to admit to being a vigilante. For them the past is best forgotten. // And now, we don’t want to think even about what happened in 1984 and 1985. Because the people of Huhudi, we have buried our differences. And the people of Huhudi was shocked, they didn’t want to know anything about the vigilantes. What they wanted to do is we shall remain as enemies. But because Mister Galeng is a Christian he had lived by that. And he has told people that they must forget about their differences. We are now living in peace. Lydia and myself, we are heading the Civil Association. Full Transcript
13:29But Vryburg hasn’t forgotten the torture. Nor the place called ”die lang boom,” a favourite place of torture. // They tortured me to an extent that I couldn’t scream. I decided to keep quiet because I realised that they were getting excited when I screamed. Later on I asked them, or I told them that ‘you’re just wasting your time, you’d better kill me.’ And they promised me, ‘you are going to die.’ // And they took me again to the Ganesa road, next to ”lang boom,” where they handcuffed me and they put electric shocks on my private parts and on my behind and then they pressed the machine. They said, ‘if you are not telling the truth today you are going to die.’Full Transcript and References
14:17This place where I’m standing is where all the tortures in ’86 and the year before ’86: ’85, the comrades and the Huhudi Civic Association, the Huhudi Youth Organisation in particular, were actually tortured. We were actually leaning against this tree and we were handcuffed, and we were actually tortured. I think the police were using it for braais; having their braais and whatever, beside torture, or this was a place used for torture and braais. Because even in that particular day they’ll actually start with their braai before you were actually tortured.Full Transcript
15:08In 1987 Samuel Thwane joined Rocky Malebane Metsing’s People’s Progressive Party that opposed the government of Lucas Mangope in Bophuthatswana. // We had the support of the people. The whole of Bophuthatswana supported us. We were confidant until after the elections. After the results were made available, we found out that Mangope had the support from Phokeng and he was afraid of some people from Phokeng. He was afraid of Mr. Malebane, and he was also afraid of Chief Lebone therefore he allowed the region to win and the other votes he took for himself and he could win, he could beat us in the elections. We had to go back to the drawing room and we decided to do something. And then someone came with the suggestion that we should stage a coup. Forcefully remove him, if possible destroy him. On the 9th of February the executive gathered at the headquarters of the party, called Eagle’s Nest situated in the town of Mafikeng. Then we said, today is the day, no mistake, we are going ...moreFull Transcript and References
18:38One of the reasons why the operation went smoothly was because there was no popular support. There was no spontaneous reaction from the population. I suspect that everything is calm by now. Full Transcript
18:55Thwane was detained and questioned about his involvement in the coup. // I pretended as, I should be honest, not to know anything about what happened to why was there a coup. They said to me, ‘you’re going to tell us, you better strip, trek uit jong daar’s nie tyd nie’ [undress, we don’t have time]. I could smell blood before it started flowing. My biggest worry was to sell out information which would result in many people suffering. I felt if somebody was to die then I had to stand and wait for that, as long as people could remain safe. And I said, ‘I’m not going to give information.’ And the interrogation started. Kicking, clapping, everything you know, picking up chairs, hitting me with those chairs, I remember one chair broke. The word that many used is ‘force.’ I was seated as I’m seated, I had to fall back. I fell back, seated on a chair. They picked me up, went for the electric shock. Started their job, as usual on my private parts. In the evening I was ...moreFull Transcript
21:20No dictatorship ever lasts. The fall of Lucas Mangope and his Bantustan were inevitable. But it had an unexpected by-product, the image of fierce Afrikaner warriors in khaki were shuttered forever. Full Transcript and References
21:34In the first months of 1994 the spirit of freedom spread like wild fire throughout South Africa. The only real resistance came from the last remaining Bantustan, Bophuthatswana. The ANC was not allowed to operate freely. Lucas Mangope was still in charge. But by March, a few weeks before South Africa’s first real elections, Bophuthatswana was also engulfed by popular resistance. // ‘We want to celebrate our new South Africa’ // The crisis reached a critical point on March 10, Mangope asked the retired head of the Defence Force, Gen Constand Viljoen, to help and hundreds of farmers and commando members rushed to Mmabatho. But in Ventersdorp the leader of the ‘Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging,’ Eugene Terreblanche, volunteered his services and hundreds of khaki clad AWB supporters drove into Bop. The armed forces of the homeland refused to accept the help of the AWB. Terreblanche and his men were told by Mangope’s government ministers and generals to leave the country. And ...moreFull Transcript
22:44There was a bridge there and they stopped there and one of them just come out, climb on top of the car and use a torch to light us. And, in few seconds I saw one of them passing through the car lights and after few seconds he came out. They were all having guns, all of them. And they were shooting to us. And, we were running away because of the gun shots and I was one of them. And, I fell little bit down, after my shot. I don’t know that I was even shot; I was just running to save my life. And after, they pass with their cars, still wanting to catch us where we are running to. And they were still shooting, shooting. The problem with that bullet went through my body, is still on my body, and then the nerves that control the message from my brain to my whole body, the bullet is on there and the message is still moving a little bit through my legs and through my body that can move and it’s very difficult for me [to walk again].Full Transcript and References
24:17Before the AWB convoys could reach the border Bop police and soldiers fired on them. Some did not make it back. // Soldiers ordered journalists to leave and the two wounded AWB members were shot in cold blood. Full Transcript
25:56Only one man pretended that this humiliation never happened. // [I have the greatest respect for the army of the AWB, the generals and the officers, who managed to reach the border with 11 casualties, of whom 3 died. On the other side, as reported by Bophuthatswana, 50 died and 280 were wounded. A brilliant defeat for the AWB].Full Transcript
26:36But it was devastating to the AWB and changed right wing politics very fundamentally. // It’s easy to talk about war and especially for people in the AWB at that time. Every second sentence they said had to do with war and nobody has actually ever seen it. And, when they saw that on television and they saw those people pleading for their lives I think that had a most profound impact on their thoughts on war. Perhaps the most important incident that led to the ensuing disarray in the right wing. Before that time the ”Afrikaner Volksfront” perhaps represented the most powerful right wing grouping that we’d seen for years in South Africa. And, for the first time in the two years preceding that particular incident you had quite a powerful grouping that were quite capable of waging war if it would ever come to that. I think Eugene Terreblanche could count on the support of a hardcore of about five thousand members, and up to 20 000 sympathisers before that. Before that incident he ...moreFull Transcript
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