18 July 2018

South Africa: A Bomb for Mandela


On the centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has released this excerpt of the yet unpublished memoirs of the late Laloo 'Isu' Chiba. Chiba served on the foundation's board until his passing in 2017. He was an Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) platoon commander and Robben Island prisoner who was jailed alongside Nelson Mandela for 18 years. In this excerpt, he writes about how he and several other MK operatives planted a bomb to mark Mandela's first court appearance in October 1952.

'The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices: submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means within our power in defence of our people, our future and our freedom.'

- Manifesto of Umkhonto we Sizwe - 16 December 1961

Nelson Mandela was the reason for a special sabotage unit - made up of MK members from the Indian areas of Fordsburg and Vrededorp - blasting the electricity substation on the corner of Delarey and Twenty-Third Streets on the night of the 15 October 1962.

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