Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle, by Thula Simpson
The magnitude of the topic and the size of the task writing Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle to Thula Simpson were considerable. His research has taken him to a number of countries, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland and the United Kingdom, as well as throughout South Africa.
ACTS OF TREASON
At Port Elizabeth's North End Station at 1 p.m. on 18 October 1952, railway employee Frans Gerber sees two Natives approach his cabin, look round, sit by the door, and start eating fish. Two and a half hours later, the Cradock train pulls in. One of the Natives grabs a tin of paint. Gerber tells him to leave it, but the men ignore him. One stands next to the drum while the other merges into the crowd of around forty waiting to board the train. Gerber telephones the next station, New Brighton, to report the theft. Constable J.F. Burger, the recipient of the call, proceeds to Platform Two. At about 3.45 p.m. the Cradock train reaches Newr Brighton. Two Natives are among those who step out of Third Class. One of them is carrying a tin of paint. Burger approaches them and says he has information the paint is stolen. Unless they can give him a suitable explanation, he says he will arrest them. The larger of the two men (the one carrying the tin) says: 'Find out for yourselves.' When Burger moves in to perform an arrest, the two resist. Burger manages to handcuff the larger man, but in the process the smaller of the two escapes. At this point, men on the platform try to prise the captive out of Burger's grasp. The constable is hit from behind and dragged off the platform onto the railway line. A section of the thousand-or-so Natives on the platform begin to pelt him with stones. In response, he fires a shot into the air. At Emloteni Square in New Brighton, the local ANC Youth League branch is holding a public meeting when two men arrive and draw members of the Youth League executive aside. A while later, Milner Ntsangani of the executive returns to inform the gathering that the meeting will have to close because there is a problem at New Brighton Station. Ntsangani departs with six or seven others. As they approach the station, they see that its roof has been stoned. They immediately take up position in front of the station in order to address the crowd. After they have finished speaking, they try, with the assistance of members of the crowd, to disperse those assembled. Ntsangani then hears the sound of gunfire, which comes from a contingent of police reinforcements who have arrived. Most of the crowd flees, but rather than go home, some take up positions at other points in New Brighton. From their vantage point at the station, the police see a lorry on fire some 400 metres away. When they arrive at the vehicle, they find inside it the mutilated corpse of a white man, Mr Laas. Two days later, at Burghersdorp in the Cape Province, South Africa's minister of native affairs, H.F. Verwoerd, tells a National Party meeting that Port Elizabeth is the only city in the Union where 'control measures' have not been properly enforced. The city thought it could handle native affairs better in its own way, with the consequence that it has become the 'fountainhead' of the 'Defiance Campaign'. He is referring to the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign, coordinated by a Joint Action Committee of ANC and South African Indian Congress (SAIC) members, which began on 26 June and which involves groups of Volunteers' courting arrest by openly contravening racially discriminatory laws. Verwoerd is keen to draw a link between the rioters and the volunteers. He says proper control measures will have to be enforced in Port Elizabeth in the future, even if this requires special legislation. The following night, Verwoerd tells another National Party meeting, this time in Dordtrecht, what he feels are the larger issues at stake. [...]
This is an excerpt from Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle, by Thula Simpson.
Title: Umkhonto we Sizwe
Subtitle: The ANC’s Armed Struggle
Author: Thula Simpson
Publisher: Penguin Random House South Africa (Penguin Books)
Cape Town, South Africa 2016
ISBN 9781770228412 / ISBN 978-1-77022-841-2
Hardcover, dustjacket, 15 x 23 cm, 591 pages, several b/w photographs
Simpson, Thula im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle is an honest account of the armed struggle and a fascinating chronicle of events that changed South African history.