AfriForum protest controversial renaming of street

2010-12-24 00:00

ANDREW Zondo Street in Amanzimtoti has been renamed “Murderer Street” by AfriForum Youth, who describe themselves as a civil rights group. Members of the group yesterday hung signs with the words “Murderer Street” on the existing street signs.

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Amanzimtoti bomb blast. Andrew Zondo (19), an uMkhonto weSizwe operative was sentenced and hanged for detonating a bomb at the Sanlam shopping centre in Amanzimtoti on December 23, 1985.

AfriForum also hosted a wreath laying ceremony at the shopping centre in memory of the victims who died there. Representatives of AfriForum Youth, members of the public and family members of one of the victims were present at the ceremony. Irma Bencini (48), Anna Shearer (43), and three children aged two, eight and sixteen were killed and more than 40 injured.

Member Ernst Roets said the municipality went ahead this year and renamed Kingsway Andrew Zondo Street, despite widespread opposition. He added that “hero-worship for murderers like Zondo is one of the main reasons for racial tension and intolerance in South Africa”.

According to the South African Police Force, there were no reports of any confrontations or incidents at the event. A member of the public present at the event, who did not want to be named, said it was a low key affair. Members of AfriForum held the wreath laying ceremony, hung the signs up and then left. They wanted to mark the anniversary of the event and record their protest, said the member.



LIBERATION stalwart, the late Fatima Meer wrote a book, The Trial of Andrew Zondo.

In an interview she once said: “His senior counsel asked me to give evidence in mitigation, speaking about the sociological conditions that contributed to the desperate actions of this young man.

“Never having met Andrew before, I visited him in prison, went to see his parents who are deeply committed Christians, and slowly began to enter into the soul and the mind of this young man. He was a remarkable person, with a deep and sensitive conscience.

“He felt a sense of compulsion to do something about the oppressive apartheid system. Experiencing few constructive options he placed the bomb in the shopping centre. In a sense it was all he could do in an awful quest to assert his ability to be more than merely a victim of society — to be a person. Well, people were killed. South Africa is a tragic place.

“But Andrew Zondo was as much the victim as those who died in the bombing.

“I am still convinced that the verdict against him was quite unjust. He should not have received the death sentence even by South African legal standards.”

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