Remains of executed PAC activists exhumed, reunited with relatives

Pretoria - Siyanda Madikane climbed into his great uncle's unmarked grave to speak to him and collect the dirt around brittle bones.

"We are here for you, we are coming to take you home to lie next to your father, your brothers, your uncles, everyone," said Madikane on Thursday

Lennox Mngambi Madikane - his uncle - was executed by hanging when he was only 25 years old on November 1, 1963.

Lennox was among 10 Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) members who were executed for political crimes and buried in unmarked graves in the Mamelodi West Cemetery in Pretoria, more than 50 years ago.

The members who were part of the PAC's armed wing, Poqo, were hanged during 1963 to 1967. Their graves were exhumed on Thursday.

READ: Closure for families of hanged UDF 8 as remains are exhumed

After their execution, their bodies became the property of the state and were buried in unmarked graves, which were never revealed to the families.

Madikane said his grandfather was tormented by his brother's murder. He said it pained him that his uncle died for democracy and was now forgotten.

"Those who passed away at that time, no one is thinking about them, only those who are alive are honoured," he said.

'Released from prison'

PAC national chairperson Phillip Dlamini said the exhumations are significant for the liberation movement.

"They are being released from prison, because when you are sentenced to death, you are a prisoner, even in the grave.

"We will never find closure as a liberation movement and as soldiers, there will be no peace without the return of those bodies."

Madeleine Fullard, head of missing persons' task team in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said these exhumations were significant.

"Many people paid the ultimate price for the democracy that we have today and those families that were directly affected have been in a state of limbo, not knowing what happened, the person just vanished into thin air."


The exhumations form part of the Gallows Exhumation Project, aimed at recovering the remains of 130 political prisoners who were hanged on the gallows.

The death penalty was abolished in 1990.

The NPA is working in conjunction with Truth and Reconciliation Commission unit in the Department of Justice.

The PAC members executed were:

Name

Age

Date executed

Vezile Jaxa

26

November 1 1963

Lennox Mngambi Madikane

25

November 1 1963

Mxolisi Damane

26

November 1 1963

Gadavu Johannes Notyawe

40

October 14 1963

Gqibile Nicholas Hans

26

May 30 1967

Baden Koboka

32

May 30 1967

Jabavu Jonas Mzondi

34

May 30 1967

Livingstone Fatyela

30

May 30 1967

Bongezile Edward Sikundla

32

May 30 1967

Msimasi Wellington Tyobeka

29

May 30 1967

 

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