The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) will today (Thursday, 15 November 2018), together with the African National Congress (ANC), and fellow South Africans who are committed to a united, non-racial and peaceful South Africa, participate in a commemoration and memorial event to recognize and honor the victims, survivors and their families of the dreadful, racist, massacre that was on this very day thirty years ago perpetrated by Barend (‘Witwolf’) Strydom at Strijdom Square in Pretoria.
On that fateful day Barend Strydom shot and killed eight innocent people, and injured sixteen others for no other reason, but that they were black. Countless other lives were affected, damaged and irrevocably changed by this despicable act.
Up to now it seemed that history had sadly forgotten these victims. Today there will be a small, but poignant, commemoration and memorial event, that will change that. It is the start of a project of commemoration and memorialization that will lead to the unveiling of a monument next year on the 15th of November 2019, to remember all the victims.
Taking the lead in today’s commemoration event is comrade Bradley Steyn, who as a seventeen year old teenager was present on Strijdom Square on the afternoon of the 15th of November 1988, and witnessed the heinous racist, and murderous act, committed by Strydom.
The events of that day deeply impacted on comrade Bradley’s life, as it did on the lives of all the other survivors too, and eventually led to him joining the liberation struggle. He became a member of the ANC as well as of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), and operational in the ANC and MK Department of Intelligence and Security (DIS). Today’s commemoration and memorial service will be held at 15:00 in front of the Women’s Heritage Museum, which is part of the State Theatre complex on Lilian Ngoyi Square, as the former Strijdom Square has so aptly been renamed. All media are invited to attend and cover this event, where a short statement remembering the victims and survivors will be made by comrade Bradley Steyn. As far as practically possible the media will also be able to interview comrade Steyn, and hear his emotionally shattering memories of the racist terror that was unleashed on that same square thirty years ago. The importance of remembrance in the process of national healing will be emphasized.
Issued by Umkhonto we Sizwe