Anonymous donor drops R120 000 to aid forgotten Robben Island freedom fighters

Harold Matsididi. (Supplied by Forgotten Freedom Fighters Fund)
Harold Matsididi. (Supplied by Forgotten Freedom Fighters Fund)

An anonymous donor dropped R120 000 towards a crowdfunding campaign, just hours after a story was published about the plight of former Robben Island prisoners who were struggling to make ends meet.

Oncology navigator Alice Banze, who has been a nurse for over 15 years, and Sandy Lewis, who heads up therapeutic services for a hospital group, had spoken about their efforts to help 72-year-old Harold Matsididi and eleven other freedom fighters.

Besides the crowdfunding campaign for various living expenses, they also held a monthly support group for the men.

In donating the money, the anonymous person commented: "The prize of our freedom."

A shocked Lewis said on Friday that the impact of the donation was priceless to all of them.

Backabuddy Chief Operations Officer Catherine Du Plooy said: "We are so happy to see the support that has been given so generously to our forgotten freedom fighters. As a platform, we are used to seeing a large number of small donations being made towards worthy causes, it's not every day that we receive such a large single donation. It is an absolute blessing."

READ: Nurse takes up the fight to aid forgotten Robben Island freedom fighters

The money is intended to help the men with access to medical care, trauma counselling and food.

It would also help them to fund transport to the government hospital, group meetings, and other medical appointments.

Matsididi, whose mother died when he was a baby, was caught up in the liberation struggle in Soweto and was arrested by the apartheid security police for being in possession of weapons.

During a 13-month detention, he was severely tortured with electric shocks to his testicles, and his skull was cracked. He also underwent solitary confinement and has permanent neck damage from the torture.

He was sent to Robben Island to serve his 11-year sentence and was released in 1990.

"We have been through quite a lot," he told News24 previously, as he joined his comrades for their monthly meeting. "Because of torture, detention and solitary confinement, most of us have been affected mentally and physically and are suffering.

"Prison was a very lonely place… But the thing I most enjoy now is hearing what affects us. We talk to each other. It keeps us busy."

(Supplied by Alice Banze)

Sandy Lewis and Alice Banze with members of the support group. (Supplied by Alice Banze)

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