Pondoland Massacre surviving hero to be laid to rest

Minister Lulu Xingwana, Minister Sicelo Shiceka, President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, and the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Noxolo Kiviet at the Ingquza Hill Massacre

 

Pretoria, 18 November 2010 – In June, 83-year-old Fuyi Simon Silangwe was the happiest men when his dream of seeing a President of South Africa on the site of the Ingquza Hill massacre to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this sad event with the amaMpondo people. On Tuesday he passed away while watching television with his family at home in Lusikisiki.

President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, in the company of Minister Sicelo Shiceka, Minister Lulu Xingwana and the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Noxolo Kiviet, answered the prayers of many in east Pondoland when he graced the 50th Anniversary of the Ingquza Hill massacre with his presence this year. The event, which took place on June 6, 1960 had been quietly celebrated by amaMpondo every year since the dawn of democracy.

Mr Silangwe was among the last remaining survivors of the massacre who marked this milestone of the historic incident with the President, something that drove him to emotionally declare that “now my soul will rest in peace because we have invited every president of the democratic dispensation, and Zuma was the first to respond and actually come to celebrate with us”.

The Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) has expressed deep condolences at the sudden passing of one of the last surviving heroes of what became known as the Ingquza Hill Massacre in Pondoland in the Eastern Cape. The event has been credited with having led to the decision by the African National Congress to ditch passive resistance in favour of armed resistance.

The massacre is said to have started with a gathering of thousands of people of east Pondoland besides Ingquza Hill, which lies between Bizana and Lusikisiki to discuss the state of affairs under which they lived.  The peaceful gathering was met with a violent response from the state. Two military aircrafts bombarded the villagers with teargas and smoke bombs.

It is said that policemen ignored the white flags the villagers held up to the military helicopters and proceeded to fire live ammunition into the crowd, after-which 11 unarmed villagers lay  dead, with several of them shot in the back of the head.

Out of those arrested, 30 were sentenced to death by hanging at the Pretoria Central prison in 1961.  In 2003 government exhumed 23 bodies from Pretoria where they had been given pauper funerals following their hanging for complicity in the Pondoland revolt.

The exhumed bodies were re-buried next to those killed in the massacre on the Ingquza Hill and their graves can be seen next to the memorial stone built by the democratic government at the Ingquza Hill.

Mr Silangwe died before fulfilling his desire to visit the President at his Nkandla homestead to discuss various proposals around this historic event he always complained was absent from South African historical records.

Details of the funeral are as follow:

Date: 20th November 2010
Venue: Mhlanga Village, Lusikisiki: Eastern Cape
Time: 09:00

Issued by the Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Vuyelwa Qinga Vika (Ms)
Ministerial Media Liaison
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Ministry
Tel: 012 334 0995
Cell: 082 877 3898
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