NewsSouthern AfricaMysterious apartheid era deaths haunt Winnie Mandela


Posted on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 19:14

Mysterious apartheid era deaths haunt Winnie Mandela

By Crystal van Wyk

The two deaths are alleged to have involved Winnie Mandela/Photo©ReutersThe pain and memory of a loved one that died at the hands of the apartheid forces during the dark 1980's in South Africa reopened for some families on Tuesday, with the exhumation of remains at a cemetery in Soweto, Johannesburg.

The digging of two graves, believed to contain the remains of two young men who were reported missing to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), took place on Tuesday.

The National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] believes it has found the bodies of Corlett "Lolo" Sono and Siboniso Anthony Shabalala who disappeared more than 24 years ago.

"Sono and Shabalala who served as couriers for the now ruling African National Congress (ANC) military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe disappeared on 13 and 14 November 1988, respectively," the [NPA] and government said.

The two bodies with multiple stab wounds were found in a field in Diepkloof Extension, Soweto, on the morning of 15 November 1988.

Photographs of the two bodies have been positively identified by the families, and DNA tests will be conducted after exhumation, in order to confirm their identities.

Their deaths are alleged to have involved ANC struggle stalwart and former wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela–Mandela.

According to reports, "forensic investigators, uniformed officers and photographers are clustered amongst fresh dirt behind a police cordon concentrating on dusting away the soil from the torn plastic covering the remains".

The Sono and Shabalala families were sitting near the grave under a cream coloured tent, singing and praying.

The men were allegedly last seen at Madikizela–Mandela's house in 1988, apparently severely beaten before going missing.

Shabalala's mother named Madikizela-Mandela as her son's killer in her testimony at the TRC.

But no action was ever taken against her.

Police have told Eyewitness News they will be opening a murder investigation into their deaths.

DNA tests would be conducted after the exhumation to confirm their identities.

The Missing Persons Task Team [MPTT], which grew out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is part of NPA, has so far identified several people's bodies to be exhumed.

It is estimated that the MPTT still has another 200 to 250 missing people to find within the boundaries of South Africa.

About 2 000 ANC activists and others who disappeared are believed to have gone missing beyond the borders of South Africa, many of them while in exile in places like Zambia, Tanzania and Angola.

Subscriptions Digital EditionSubscriptions PrintEdition










Music & Film



Keep up to date with the latest from our network :


Connect with us