Pretoria – The discussion on whether the late De Klerk should get a state-funded funeral has sparked a lot of conversations and continues to reveal some dark stories that are new to many or forgotten.
The Mpendulo twins’ story is one that remains touching and a dark revelation of the ways the apartheid regime spread fear and terror in the country.
After the killing In 1993, Mandela, the African National Congress leader, condemned the raid but said it would not hinder negotiations to end white-minority rule.
″The South African Defense Force has no right to kill people,″ the head of South Africa’s largest black group told reporters in Brussels, Belgium, where he was meeting with European Community officials. ″This is an act of thuggery and pure terrorism.″
The South African army said the group’s guerrilla wing, known as the Azanian People’s Liberation Army, used the Umtata house to launch ″criminal acts of terror on unarmed South African civilians.″
Johnson Mlambo, the Pan Africanist group’s vice president, told reporters in Johannesburg that the owner of the house, Sicelo Mpendulo, was not at home when the troops burst in about 1 a.m. He said Mpendulo’s 16-year-old twin sons, 12-year-old son, and two nephews, aged 12 and 19, were shot in the head as they slept.
Mlambo said Mpendulo was a PAC member, but that neither he, his sons nor his nephews were guerrillas, and that there were no weapons in the house.
Fadana Stembiso shares a touching side to the story that has never been shared in the media and one that sheds an even fearful angle to the experience:
On the 7 October 1993 was a Thursday and like all Thursday evenings, I was going to Church on my way down my street AC Jordaan & I met my cousin Sadat Mpendulo who was going up the street to his home.
We stayed just 3 houses apart at 40 (Me) & 43 (him). I was surprised to see him on a Thursday because they attended school in Mqanduli if my mind serves right. So coming home was a weekend thing for them and street soccer was always a theme of the weekend.
We had a chat & he invited me to a sleepover at his house this was after I told him that my mother who was preparing for my grandmother’s birthday in Zimbane, so I was going to sleep alone. We agreed that after Church I will sleep at his house and wake up early Friday & go to my home to prepare for school.
I went to church and when I came back, walking up to my street for some reason I became very lazy at the thought of waking up with people that were not going to school the Friday. I knew we were going to have a long night and it was going to be fun with games and jokes as usual but something just did not allow me to sleep over at my Uncle’s house that night. I still can’t explain it but I ended up dismissing it by saying I will sleep over Friday and so I went home.
On the 8th of October 1993, it was a beautiful morning. The sun shining & I was looking forward to school and eventually an eventful weekend. I was almost ready for school but I am not sure what I was doing when I saw Malume (Sigqibo Mpendulo) the father of Samora & Sadat opening the gate and coming into the house. He ask for my mother and I told him that she slept in Zimbane.
His mood was off and he had lost his funny side. He looked at me and said, “My children are dead”. I laughed because I thought he was joking. He was serious but had no tears and he turned and went back to his house.
I went to the kitchen for some reason I thought what if he was not joking and so I slowly went to the gate and looked at his house and saw a lot of police vehicles. I went to his house & it was closed off with a crime scene tape. It was confirmed that Samora, Sadat, Mzwandile, and two friends were shot dead.
My world changed again and the street was never the same. De Klerk getting Nobel Peace Prize was just an insult to peace and to Sigqibo Mpendulo & his family.
FW de Klerk’s apology for the pain that apartheid caused, which was released in a video form after his death, was something he should have done while he was still alive. he had the opportunity to express his regret while he was still alive. This is the view of Dr. Marjorie Jobson, the national director of the Khulumani Support Group, which was founded in 1995 by survivors of apartheid human rights violations.
Reacting to De Klerk’s apology made public by the De Klerk Foundation, Sigqibo Mpendulo said: “He is going to his grave without being apologetic nor remorseful. He was just playing to the gallery.”
Mpendulo recounted how the killing had wrecked his own family. He had lost his wife 10 years later – she had been unable to cope with the murder of her twins and other relatives.
“My wife died believing that she was not raising her kids to be Apla members but kids. For me, what was hurting more was that my other children never received any counseling since then,” Mpendulo said.