MADIBA MYSTERY

By Drum Digital
26 July 2012

The two men were comrades in their fight to end apartheid – one was prepared to die for his people’s freedom and the other was willing to risk jail to end the laws that had branded him and so many others second-class citizens.

Although one had a university degree and the other had left school in Grade 3 (Standard 1), in the eyes of the brutally repressive regime of the day, there was little difference between them. They were both enemies of the state. But the bootlegger-businessman and the freedom fighter destined to become South Africa’s first black president had something else in common: the name David Motsamai.When Nelson Mandela was arrested on 5 August 1962 in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, he was using the alias David Motsamai. But what drew these two very different men together and intertwined their lives? To mark the 50th anniversary of Madiba’s arrest, DRUM visited the family of the real David Motsamai in Dube to find out. Motsamai’s grandson Sipho Motsamai remembers his grandfather as a no-nonsense man, who was always elegantly dressed and a smooth-talker with a perfect command of the English language, despite his limited education.

Read more in DRUM 2 AUGUST 2012

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