Nelson Mandela’s bombs: Amanzimtoti 23 Dec 1985
18 June 2013 1 Comment
New pictures: 23 December 1985 – Nelson Mandela’s bomb: Sanlam Shopping Centre, Amanzimtoti, KZN:
“This was the day the name African National Congress became synonymous with cowardice, hatred and terrorism’
Nobel Peace Laureate Nelson Mandela’s other bombs:
Eye-witness account *
“On the 23rd December 1985, I was with my Father, photo journalist Jo Toerien, in his studio in Amanzimtoti. It was a hot summer’s day, I was an 18 years old enjoying the coolness of the air-conditioned studio, casually chatting to him about an upcoming assignment. I often accompanied my dad on some of his photo shoots. Our laughing and bantering was suddenly interrupted by a profound and heavy thud that made the windows shudder. Everything stood still, we both looked at each other bewildered and immediately his desk phone rang. It was brief conversation; he went white in the face, slammed the phone down, grabbed his camera bag and bolted over to the Sanlam Shopping Centre.
“You could already see the grey smoke enveloping the shopping mall and billowing into the streets. He dashed off in between the crowds and the chaos, the local police were trying to cordon off the road and do crowd control; they knew him well and ushered him through. He recalls the odd smells, a mixture of wet cement and iron and almost like that smell you encounter on Guy Fawkes day. There was screaming, crying, the wailing of the engines of fire trucks, the voices that shouted and echoed off the walls.
“The blast had created a zig-zag effect on the internal structure. Then the reality of it all hit ….Bomb? what bomb, why?…. there were sheets of glass, bits of metal, his Nikon camera flashing into the darkness of the passages.
People were sliding in the blood…
“The blood lay everywhere, people were sliding in it. The smell of it was nauseating. People were galvanized into action as they started to help others.
“This was the day the name African National Congress became a name synonymous with cowardice, hatred and terrorism. The people of this small coastal town’s reverie was knocked senseless that day. Blacks, whites, Indians and coloureds alike were affected by the senseless brutality. This sickening act of the ANC did not encourage people to listen to their plight, instead it turned people against them, turned them into nothing but common criminals who felt nothing to murder innocent women and children.
- Recently, the current ANC government, incited further hatred in the people of this once glittering jewel of the south coast by renaming a main road — Kingsway Road in Amanzimtoti — after the bomber to “Andrew Zondo Road”. This 19 year old ANC militant member, was thankfully hung on the 9th September 1986.
The photos taken by my Father will always remind us of our bloody history and of the calibre of the men who now run this country.” (*Name withheld).
Background details on Amanzimtoti bomb – testimony and aftermath:
The Amanzimtoti bomb killed three small Afrikaner children, namely Willem Arie van Wyk 2; Isabella Margretha van Wyk 5, and eight-year-old Johan Smit. Two white women were also killed: Mrs Irma Bencini 48 and Anna Shearer, 43. Sixty-one people were injured: many were blinded and left permanently disabled. It’s not on record how many of those injured victims have since succumbed from their injuries.
The limpet mine had been placed in a refuse bin outside the Sanlam shopping centre. Most of the victims were holidaymakers doing last minute Christmas shopping. The shopping centre was very crowded.
Sibusiso Andrew Zondo (19) was arrested in February 1986. Two other Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK, Spear of the Nation) male members thought also to have been involved in the bombing, Phumezo Nxiweni (20) and Sipho Stanley Bhila (31), were killed by the police during a shoot-out while they were trying to arrest them.
The state’s main witness in the case, a Mofokeng, told the court that he had provided the limpet mine and accompanied Zondo, 19, to the shopping centre. Mofokeng claimed that the explosion was in retaliation for the South African security forces’ raid on Maseru Lesotho four days earlier, in which nine people were killed. Zondo, who admitted his role in the bombing at his trial, was convicted and given five death sentences. He was executed on 9 September 1986. He refused to apply for an appeal against his death sentence.
In her statement to the Commission, Zondo’s mother said that Zondo had told his parents when he was in matric that he would leave the country when he finished school, as he was ‘fed up with the system’. His parents never saw him again, but he contacted them briefly a week before his arrest. She said that people leaving his memorial service in KwaMashu were attacked and two children killed. Zondo’s brother was seriously assaulted and subsequently suffered from epilepsy, which finally led to his death.
Johan Smit 8, is a martyr, said his father Cornelius to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Mr Cornelius Smit, whose little son Johan died in the explosion, told the TR-Commission that “he saw his son as a martyr whose death had helped usher in the new South Africa“. [JB00193/02/PS].
Other victims of the explosion who made statements to the Commission included Mr Ian Shearer [KZN/NNN/522/DN] whose wife, Anna was killed; and Ms Hluphekile Nkabinde [JB0020/03VT] who was taking her employer’s two-year-old son, Willem van Wyk for a walk when the bomb exploded, killing the child and injuring her [KZN/NG/010/DN]. [JB00207/03VT
Afriforum: ‘ Ruling ANC’s Hero-Worship Cult for Murderers like Zondo is a main reason for racial tension and intolerance in South Africa ‘