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


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


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Jack Rollers ganga state-sponsored criminal gang that was used to target political activists in Soweto, Johannesburg, during 1990References
Kabasa ganga vigilante group formed in the Eastern Transvaal in 1986. The gang operated with SAP and SADF support in the Nelspruit and KaNgwane areas of KaNyamazane, Pienaars Trust, Luphisa Trust and Kabokweni, to crush political unrest associated with the 1986 school boycotts in these areas.References
Khetisi Kheswa ganga vigilante group led by Victor Khetisi Kheswa, sometimes referred to as the 'Vaal monster', which began as a criminal gang and later developed links with the IFP. With state support, the gang was implicated in many acts of violence in Sebokeng, Tvl, during 1991. Although acquitted for lack of evidence, the Commission found the Khetisi Kheswa gang to have been responsible for the Nangalembe night vigil massacre on 12 January 1991, an attack which precipitated the formation of ANC self-defence units (SDUs) in the Vaal area. References
Khotso House bombingOn 1 September 1988, Khotso House, the headquarters of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and the UDF was damaged extensively by explosives set by members of the Security Branch. Twenty-three people were treated for shock. In October, Khanya House, the offices of the South African Bishops' Conference (SACBC) was damaged in an arson and limpet mine attack. Senior security force officers and Security Branch admitted to the Commission that they were ordered by either the then State President or senior members of the government to carry out the attacks. References
Khumalo ganga vigilante group led by the Reverend Mbhekisini Khumalo in Tokoza, on the East Rand. The gang played a significant role in East Rand violence between 1991 and 1993 and was associated with the murder of key political leaders in the region. ANC members were abducted, assaulted, hacked and shot. Many were killed in targeted killings and shooting sprees. The gang was integrated into the organisational hierarchy of the IFP and executed projects under its leadership and direction. References
Khutsong Youth CongressFrom 1989, divisions in the UDF-aligned Khutsong Youth Congress gave rise to the emergence of two factions, namely the 'Zim-zims' and the 'Gadaffis'. At least seventeen people were killed 'extra-judicially' in conflict following the split. Attacks and counter-attacks between the factions continued. The police in the area took advantage of the conflict, and scores of activists on both sides were detained, tortured and killed. References
kitskonstabel(Afrikaans: 'instant constable'); see Special ConstablesReferences
Koevoeta police counter-insurgency unit set up in South West Africa in 1979 by members of the SAP Security Branch. It comprised recruits mostly from the local population who were trained as a mobile unit to gather intelligence, track guerrillas and kill them. Koevoet (Afrikaans for 'crowbar') soon gained a reputation for brutality, largely because of its methods of interrogating and torturing local people and for its heavy-handed presence in the operational areas. In the early to mid-1980s, at the height of its war with SWAPO, Koevoet claimed a kill rate of around 300 to 500 people a year, for which its members were paid a bounty per corpse.References
Kutloanong mob attackFour persons who drove their vehicle into Kutloanong, Odendaalsrus, OFS, on 29 September 1990, were killed in a mob attack led by ANC 'comrades'. The 'comrades' told the Commission that the attack was in response to rumours of an intended attack by vigilantes or right-wingers. The only female victim of the attack was raped, killed and mutilated with an axe. Four applicants were refused amnesty.References
KwaKwatsi, Koppies, OFSOn 30 March 1990, members of the SAP opened fire on a crowd of ANC supporters marching to the court in Koppies to protest against the trial of ANCYL members accused of burning down councillors' houses in KwaKwatsi.References
KwaMakhutha massacreOn 21 January 1987, 13 people, mostly women and children, were killed when gunmen opened fire with AK47s on the home of UDF activist, Mr Bheki Ntuli, at KwaMakhutha, Amanzimtoti, near Durban. Mr Ntuli was not at home at the time. Twenty people, including the former Minister of Defence, General Magnus Malan, and the IFP leader, Mr MZ Khumalo, were acquitted in the Durban Supreme Court in 1996 for their part in an alleged conspiracy between former state structures and the IFP to carry out the attack. Two former IFP members were granted amnesty for their role in Operation Marion, in which the SADF MI's Special Tasks provided paramilitary training and support to the IFP in a joint effort to combat the revolutionary threat posed by the ANC.References
KwaMashu hostel killingsSeven ANC representatives were abducted from a hostel in KwaMashu, Durban, by IFP supporters on 29 March 1994, after they had gone to the hostel to attend a scheduled peace meeting to resolve differences between KwaMashu residents and hostel-dwellers. Five were killed and two survived. Four IFP supporters, including the chairperson of the IFP hostel branch in KwaMashu, were convicted of the killings.References
KwaZulu Police (KZP)The KZP was created in February 1981 and had jurisdiction over the largest and most populous dormitory townships in KwaZulu. From its inception, it displayed an open bias towards Inkatha (later the IFP). Later it contributed to political violence in KwaZulu/Natal by assaulting, shooting and carrying out other unlawful acts against township residents perceived to support the UDF, by failing to intervene to stop attacks carried out by Inkatha against perceived supporters of the UDF, ANC and allied organisations, and by disrupting funerals, memorial services and meetings of non-Inkatha groups. References
Langa shootingsOn 21 March 1985, members of the SAP in Langa, Uitenhage, Cape, opened fire on mourners marching to the prohibited funeral of four of six youths killed by the police. At least 20 people were killed by police in this incident and many others were injured. Police patrols had been issued with heavy ammunition following a decision on 14 March to take stronger measures to restore order in a situation of rapidly escalating public unrest, particularly after the killing of the six youths. The police had obtained two orders restricting the funeral of four of the youths, resulting in a confusion over the dates on which the funeral was to be held. On 21 March 1985, a large group of people from Langa township began to march to KwaNobuhle to attend the funeral. The police blocked the road into the centre of Uitenhage with two armoured vehicles and ordered the crowd to disperse. When the crowd failed to comply immediately, police opened fire, fatally shooting 20 people. At least 27 other people were wounded. References
Magabheni attacksOn 26 November 1990, large groups of IFP supporters carried out attacks on ANC supporters in the Magabheni area, KwaZulu, near Durban, allegedly in an attempt to purge the area of ANC supporters. The attacks allegedly followed an instruction issued by a local IFP-supporting chief to 'restore law and order at Magabheni'. Eight people were killed.References
Magoo's Bar bombingOn 24 June 1986, MK operatives detonated a car bomb outside the Parade Hotel on the Durban beachfront on 14 June 1986. The explosion killed three women and injured at least 74 other people in the Why Not Bar and adjacent Magoo's Bar. Seven MK operatives were granted amnesty for their roles in the incident. References
Makabasa gangan anti-ANC gang which worked with the police to attack ANC supporters in Alexandra, Johannesburg, around 1986.References
Malukazi attacksFfierce fighting broke out between supporters of Inkatha and the ANC in Malukazi, Umlazi, Durban, on 27 February 1990, following police efforts to disperse a crowd of over 1000 marching students. At least 42 homes were burnt down and up to 200 people rendered homeless.References
Mandela United Footall ClubThe MUFC was established in late 1986 when Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was instrumental in resolving an internal conflict in the Soweto Youth Congress. Youths involved in the conflict set up the football club and moved into the outbuildings of the Mandela home in Orlando West, Soweto, Johannesburg, and, after this was burnt down, to her home in Diepkloof extention. Allegations of brutality were first levelled against the youths in 1987. Later their behaviour was described by community residents as a 'reign of terror'. Club members, and Ms Madikizela-Mandela herself, were implicated directly or indirectly in a range of incidents, including assaults and abduction and the murder and attempted murder of at least a dozen individuals. References
MAWU abductionFive members of the Metal and Allied Workers' Union (MAWU) were abducted by Inkatha members at Mpophomeni, KwaZulu, near Howick, Natal, on 5 December 1986. Four of the victims were killed and their bodies burnt. One managed to escape from the vehicle in which he was being held while his colleagues were being taken off and shot. At the time, MAWU members were engaged in intense local conflict with Inkatha supporters and the KwaZulu Police following the 1985 Sarmcol strike. An inquest found nine known Inkatha members responsible for these killings, but no one was charged.References
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