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Flowers of the revolution

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Laurentia Richer
Laurentia Richer

If you bumped into them in the aisle of one of Gauteng’s supermarkets, you would never imagine that these gentle-faced, greying, middle-aged women were once known as then ANC president Oliver Tambo’s “flowers of the revolution”.

Pauline Mohale, now a doting grandmother, was a recruiter of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) operatives in the 1970s. She was arrested while en route to cross the border into Swaziland for military training. The soft-spoken woman is still an active member of her ANC branch in Soweto.

Living on the other side of Johannesburg, in the city’s eastern suburbs, is Laurentia Richer, a therapeutic reflexologist involved in complementary health. No one would guess that the same hands that heal could strip and put together an AK-47 in the dark.

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