ANC buries Ciskei victims
Saturday 19 September 1992
But the day ended in violence when the crowds going home looted and burned businesses. In Mdantsane, Ciskei's second-largest township, one person was reported shot dead and two wounded during attacks on a hotel. About 500 people first stoned the hotel then charged it.
Earlier, the African National Congress buried the victims of the massacre - with similiar angry defiance that cost others their lives - in the knowledge that, for the moment at least, the deaths have drawn South Africa's leaders away from confrontation.
The lingering contradictions of apartheid were in full view. Mourners waved posters denouncing Ciskei's military leader, Brigadier Oupa Gqozo, as a 'madman' and President F W de Klerk as his accomplice in the killing of 28 people and injuring of about 200 others who were demanding the homeland leader's removal from power last week. Among the most popular speakers at the funeral was another homeland dictator, Transkei's Bantu Holomisa.
Twenty-seven coffins were laid before the crowd in temperatures above 110F. Twelve of them were buried yesterday. Thousands had attended the overnight vigil, and spearheaded the main gathering in the Victoria Ground cricket stadium. They filed in from early morning.
Behind each coffin stood an ANC marshal in silent vigil, fist raised over the casket, a sign with the victim's name in his left hand. 'Phumla Ngoxolo, Rest in Peace', one said. Most of the coffins were draped in ANC colours.
Either way, the graves cut into the harsh, dry earth - so different from the soft, green pasture of an English cemetery - were a fitting place for people who lived harsh lives, and died harsh deaths.
Brigadier Gqozo, as the funeral service gathered pace, showed no remorse. 'That was not a march last week, that was a military invasion led by military men. That was an abortive coup d'etat and the leaders should be put under arrest,' he said, before describing himself as 'a peace-loving man who abhors all violence'.
For the mourners the intense heat did little to cool the anger, and the speakers were in no mood to help. Chris Hani, the Communist Party chief, whose party has been accused by the South African government of leading lambs to the slaughter at Bisho, strafed a broad range of opponents.
'We hate de Klerk, we hate Pik Botha (the Foreign Minister), we hate Hernus Kriel (the Law and Order Minister), we hate apartheid, we hate capitalists,' he cried.
Notably absent were Nelson Mandela, the ANC president, and Cyril Ramaphosa, the secretary-general, who was among those pinned to the ground by the Ciskei forces' gunfire last week. Mr Ramaphosa has since spearheaded the new-found reconciliation expected to lead to a summit between the government and ANC.
But the ANC deputy president, Walter Sisulu, kept the defiance over the homelands alive among the rank and file.
'No part of South Africa, be it in Ciskei, Bophuthatswana or KwaZulu, should be a no-go areas for the democratic forces,' he said.
Not mentioned was the neighbouring homeland of Transkei, whose military leader, Gen Holomisa, an ANC sympathiser, received the most spirited reception at the funeral. He was greeted with chants of: 'The general with a difference.'
The ANC has deliberately excluded the general from its campaign to depose homeland leaders to allow free political activity. But, in one area at least, Gen Holomisa is as reluctant as Brigadier Gqozo to surrender his authority. Before the mourners, he rejected the government plans to 'clip the homelands' wings' in the wake of the Ciskei massacre.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...