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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 3 of Episode 30

TimeSummary
10:46August 1985 is etched deep in the memories of hundreds of people from the Cape Flats. The United Democratic Front was growing in strength and the levels of repression with it. On the 28th of August thousands of people joined a march to Pollsmoor prison to demand the release of Nelson Mandela. For many this was their first taste of political activism. Some of them must have thought it a virtually risk free action because it was essentially an act of peaceful resistance. They were wrong. The police at the time did not recognize the concept of peaceful resistance.Full Transcript and References
11:22On the 3rd of August 1985 UDF leader Allan Boesak announced plans for a march on Pollsmoor Prison. Among those at its head would be many of Cape Town’s religious leaders.Full Transcript
11:37We had to do this and as it was a symbolic march the message was ‘let us release the true leaders of this country.’Full Transcript and References
11:47The plan was for marchers to assemble at Athlone Stadium and proceed peacefully from there to Pollsmoor where they would demand the release of Nelson Mandela.Full Transcript
11:58Of course the police will be there in force to … us. We’d have asked them not to be there because we’d have said we are perfectly willing and capable and determined to have a peaceful, non violent, disciplined, organized demonstration. Full Transcript
12:18But on August 25th Boesak was detained, so he was absent on a day that went everything but peaceful and non violent.Full Transcript
12:28On the 28th of August 1985 the regime sent out its army and its police and surrounded the Athlone Stadium in the early hours of the morning and forcibly dispersed anybody or any gatherings in that particular area. Full Transcript and References
12:51The crowd dispersed but regrouped all over the city. The largest regrouping was at Hewat College in Athlone where 4000 decided to march regardless of police determination to stop them.Full Transcript
13:05You mustn’t run and if the front people sit down we all sit down and we let them do the violence and expose the violence of the system and let it be a symbol of the nature of this regime. Full Transcript
13:22As we approached Grossmere Avenue the police appeared in caspirs and in police trucks and ordered us to stop the march and disperse. Reverend David Russell ordered us to kneel down and pray. This we all did collectively.Full Transcript
13:42‘Attention! This gathering is illegal. I’ll give you two minutes to disperse.’ // ‘I don’t want to negotiate at all.’Full Transcript
14:22‘We come to show our solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters in jail.’ // ‘Only the ministers are going to stand.’Full Transcript
14:34Ministers form row to guard marchers from police, singing a hymn. Police start attacking the marchersFull Transcript
14:56Suddenly I felt a blow and I mean I was out for a while. One of the policemen hit me with a baton. Now the thing is fairly thick and not so long. But he hit me from the back and that thing bent over right over my head. I was growing a sort of rhinoceros horn on my forehead immediately after that. Unfortunately I was wearing specs at that stage and both glasses broke, especially the one on my right, penetrated my eyeball. When someone was leading me to a house nearby and I was trying then standing at a tap outside the house trying to wash the glass out of my eyes till one woman who was helping me said ‘look, you have no eye.’Full Transcript
15:47In the three days that followed the aborted march the police and army let loose with full force on the Cape Flats. Their rampage left 28 dead. At the TRC this week many were shocked at the reminder that those killed included children. Msutu Wilson Palma’s 14 year old daughter Priscilla was shot dead while playing with a school friend in the yard.Full Transcript
16:15She got shot in the forehead, she was not rioting but the police had been patrolling around.Full Transcript and References
16:20Florence Papa’s 16 year old son, Vuyani was killed while on his way to the shop for bread. // Yes, he was shot three times in the head.Full Transcript and References
16:30Some people lost their lives in the process; some were injured, some were jailed and some had to run for their lives out of the country. But the march drew the attention of the world and South Africa was never the same again. Full Transcript
 
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