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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 2 of Episode 86

01:02But we start tonight’s programme with some of the most difficult images of the Truth Commission process. In most cultures the bodily remains of a person are seen as more than just a collection of bones. It is important to most people that the person you loved should have a decent funeral. More importantly, knowledge of how a loved one had died and where he or she was buried is essential for closure. The Truth Commission dug up several marked and unmarked graves the last few days.Full Transcript
01:34On Monday morning the TRC leads the family of slain askari, Brian Ngqulunga to his gravesite at Vlakplaas, South Africa’s most notorious death farm. Ngqulunga was one of the black security policemen who lived and died in the dirty sinister world of Vlakplaas. He was part of the team that brutally murdered human rights lawyer, Griffiths Mxenge, in 1981. By 1987 Ngqulunga was about to crack. He’d become too much of a threat to the Vlakplaas death squad. He knew too much and he too had to die. Ngqulunga was buried here, because his community would not accept the shame of burying an askari in their township. Today, his wife Catherine has finally come to reclaim his remains from the killing fields of Vlakplaas.Full Transcript and References
02:30It is a fact that it is a place that has always been a source of great injury in my heart and my heart is always sore when I’ve got to come here. And I’m quite thrilled about the fact that possibly this is the last time that I will put my feet on this terrible and horrible place.Full Transcript
03:11In keeping with African tradition Ngqulunga’s wife has to communicate with him before the exhumation gets under way. She sprinkles snuff around the tomb stone and quietly talks to him, informing him of what is about to take place.Full Transcript
03:27‘Brian today we have come here, we have come to fetch you, we are coming to fetch you my husband. I’m taking you away from here today. I’m taking you to a mortuary. From the mortuary you’ll be going to your final resting place, your final resting place my husband because this was not your place, it was not your resting place. It was because of the situation then that you were alone on this hill.Full Transcript
04:42Ngqulunga’s young son is overcome with emotion as he steals a glimpse of his father’s remains.Full Transcript
05:05So much has been said about Vlakplaas, so much has been written about the place and this is the very first thing that a tangible thing that we can say we have discovered on Vlakplaas, Brian Ngqulunga’s remains, which were exhumed today.Full Transcript
05:40On Tuesday the search for bones continues. We arrive on the farm Boshoek just after 11. The farmer is angry that TRC investigators have not informed him that the exhumations of 3 MK cadres are to take place today. Full Transcript
05:55Why don’t you take the phone and just phone? // That’s what I’ve told you told, now I’m telling you that we are coming to take the three bodies which you have allowed to be buried here …We are not yet finished, we have not even started. // OK, carry on!Full Transcript
06:13Even though he’s lived on the farm for most of his life he denies any knowledge of secret graves.Full Transcript
06:20I don’t know, I told you just now I don’t know nothing about it. The first I know about it is when these people, a month ago, two months … two months ago they were on the farm and they asked permission to come and have a look if there are new graves, or whatever. That’s all.Full Transcript
06:40Just a few meters away the scene around the three graves looks more like an ANC rally than a site of an exhumation, but the premier of the North West. Popo Molefe says the ANC members are here to support the families of the three MK soldiers. They’ve have come here to unearth the remains of Watson Majova , Aaron Makwe and another soldier known only as Khwedi. The three were murdered by the security forces at the nearby township of Tlhabani in 1985. Their bodies are believed to have been disposed of in these graves, but as the relentless digging continues the earth reveals more dark secrets than expected. Instead of one body, at least four bodies are discovered in this grave. Another four bodies are removed from a second grave, body after body, until finally a total of 12 heaps of remains, all wrapped tightly in these plastic bags, are lifted from the soil. The Majova family say they have mixed feelings because they still don’t know which body belongs to their son and brother ...moreFull Transcript and References
08:05First I was told that he was buried alone but when I found out there are so many of these graves here. Now we are depending on the people who are going to work on them to see whether really we are getting the right body. Full Transcript
08:20There’s a feeling of anger and a feeling of sadness, anxiety and happiness as well. At last, even if we don’t know as you’ve seen they exhumed so many bodies we don’t know at the moments if it’s his. But we hope that his, that’s my youngest brother’s, body is also amongst those.Full Transcript
08:42Aaron Makwe’s family wants the TRC or the government to take action against the owner of this latest death farm.Full Transcript
08:50Nobody can think that people can be buried here,but now my worry is… I want know about this white manwho was allowing these things here in his farm.Full Transcript
09:09It is difficult to see my brother in this … like this. I mean it’s hard, it’s hard. There’s nothing I can say at the moment. It’s hard. I cannot even think anymore. If you look at white people, what they have done to our brothers, it’s bad. It’s really bad.Full Transcript
09:36On Wednesday the TRC traveled to Thabazimbi, the mountain of steel, where they are exhumed the remains of MK soldier, Selby Mavuso so that he too can be given a more dignified reburial.Full Transcript and References
10:03There are a lot of people killed inside the country and outside the country which the TRC must exhume like in Botswana we’ve got about 600 people who have been killed by the security forces and the army there inside Botswana. We have investigated that and we found the graves.Full Transcript
10:22TRC investigator Fanie Malapo is investigating hundreds of possible exhumations from his tiny office in Johannesburg, but with the TRC winding down its work in July is time not running out?Full Transcript
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