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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 3 of Episode 62

18:05During the years of the anti-apartheid struggle Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats became known for its militancy and open confrontation with police. It produced its own armed unit, known as the Bonteheuwel Military Wing as well as many well known MK cadres. But Bonteheuwel paid a high price for this. Many lives were destroyed or lost. Anneliese Burgess takes up the story.Full Transcript and References
18:30This is Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats, a traditional coloured, working class area that became the crucible for militant anti-apartheid defiance in the Cape. Here, generations of hard lined activists, young street fighters and MK guerrillas fought the police and the state in a head on battle. In the 80s Bonteheuwel responded to ever increasing police action against them by forming the Bonteheuwel Military Wing, a self defence unit drawn mainly from school children, many of whom were on the run from police.Full Transcript and References
19:02The Bonteheuwel Military Wing started precisely because we needed to respond to the manner in which the state operated. We needed to one, defend ourselves, defend our community, because it appeared as if our community were under siege. We had a situation where there were, police put patrols – and I’m talking about constant patrols, almost 24 hours patrols. You had constant surveillance of activists, their houses; you had a situation where people were detained at random. People were basically just taken out of the classrooms.Full Transcript and References
19:39…because people wanted to make war, they’re fighting us. We were only SRC students, students speaking out, and now they were fighting us. So we had to retaliate. BMW was the Youth League of MK; we were the ones who did the fighting in Bonteheuwel.Full Transcript and References
19:59Towards the late eighties a number of the trained MK cadres who graduated from the military wing lost their lives in action. First there was Anton Fransch, who was killed in a seven hour shootout with police. This week, a former MK member confessed to having given Anton Fransch’s hiding place away during torture.Full Transcript and References
20:19And then there was silence. Somebody shouted that it was over. In my head I heard all the time, and even now, although this time I’m also asking the same question ‘who sold me to the police, who sold me to the police?’ Anton died with that question on his mouth.Full Transcript and References
21:10Then came the death of MK commander, Ashley Kriel. He fled the country in 1985 at the age of 18. When his family saw him again, two years later, it was to identify his body in a state mortuary.Full Transcript and References
21:24I will never forget that site. He had a little moustache, nice curly top hair and just to see that he has grown into manhood. I mean he was still very young, but to see my little brother that had grown into a beautiful strong built young man was just that really made me strong.Full Transcript
21:54The police said Ashley Kriel died in a police swoop on this safe house in Athlone. They said his gun accidentally went off when they tried to disarm him. But the sisters of Ashley Kriel came to this house after seeing the address in an unattended file at the mortuary. The blood splattered all over this house has led them to believe that not only was he murdered by the police, but that they also first tortured him brutally.Full Transcript
22:20The other version again was, that I heard on Saturday, was that Ashley was in fact … Imtiaz was taken into a room and his sister and was sort of tortured, while Ashley in the front room was being beaten up. And he was hit with a spade on the forehead, and then either the throat – or whichever part of the neck – was also slit. It sounded as if a sheep had been slaughtered, the way he screamed. And when they realized that he could be brain dead, they put him in a chair, handcuffed him, so that the blood could run down, and then put him on the stomach, shot him afterwards.Full Transcript
23:02The funeral of Ashley Kriel in July 1987 turned into yet into another battle between police and militant activists.Full Transcript
23:09The South African Police cannot live without violence, they are absolute pigs and this is my problem with them.Full Transcript
23:15Two years later activists again gathered at a grave, this time to lie to rest Robert Waterwitch and Coline Williams. But the victims of Bonteheuwel’s violent confrontation with apartheid are not only the ones lying in Cape Town’s graveyards. For every martyr there are many, many more grappling with the destruction of their lives. Full Transcript and References
23:36What does a person do who for all these years have been on the run from the cops, he never slept at home, he’s away from home for 3, 4 years. The only thing he knows is how to fight, what does he do? How does he survive in the community? Fighting became so important to us then, like I myself don’t know how to adapt properly in this new South Africa. We are fighting within ourselves now. We are not fighting a war on street. I can still remember Comrade Ashley Kriel who had said ‘once we’ve won the struggle, once we’ve won the battle we must still win the struggle.’ And one day I asked him what did he mean by that words and he said ‘we will beat the struggle, but it’s not the struggle… the first struggle is against the apartheid regime, that we’ll win easy, but the second struggle we are fighting is the struggle within the struggle, the struggle amongst ourselves.’Full Transcript
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