Sunday, September 13, 2015


The Mozambican and South African Presidents, Filipe Nyusi and Jacob Zuma, on Friday inaugurated a monument in the southern city of Matola in tribute to the South African freedom fighters murdered by the apartheid regime in a commando raid against Matola on 30 January 1981.The raid was against three houses that were a transit centre where members of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the South African liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC), would stay before setting off for operations inside South Africa. The commandos killed 12 ANC members on the spot, and a thirteenth died later. Two others were kidnapped and take back across the border into South Africa, where they were murdered.
A Portuguese electrician named Jose Ramos was also killed. It is thought the raiders mistook him for Joe Slovo, the Chief of Staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe. Slovo had been at the Matola houses earlier in the day, but left three hours before the raid. The senior Umkhonto comamnder killed in the raid was Mota “Obadi” Mokgabudi.The raiders struck at about midnight taking the ANC members by surprise. But one of them did manage to fire back, killing one of the commandos, whose body was discovered the following morning.The centerpiece of the monument consists of three red obelisks, on which are written the names of the Matola dead. There is also a series of pillars representing the countries of the southern African region. Adjacent to the moment is an information centre, containing photographs and documentation on the anti-apartheid struggle and on the solidarity between the Mozambican and South African peoples.Addressing the ceremony, Nyusi said that, in the January 1981 raid, “the apartheid regime once again showed its true cruel and inhuman face”. The attack was “a clear affront against our territorial integrity and sovereignty, our peace and all forms of human rights”.

The monument, he added, “summarises our struggle against colonial and racist regimes. It makes immortal the achievements of men and women who wrote the noblest pages in our common history through the sacrifice of their own lives”.Nyusi also regarded the monument as a tribute to the man who was President of Mozambique at the time of the raid, Samora Machel, “who taught us that our independence would never be compete while there were other oppressed peoples in our region. With Samora Machel we developed militant internationalism, which continues to guide our posture in the concert of nations”.The apartheid regime, Nyusi declared, “mixed the blood of the Mozambican and South African peoples, strengthening our common determination in the struggle for the peace, democracy and freedom that we now enjoy”.
“Yesterday we defeated the apartheid regime because we were united, determined and clear about our objectives”, he continued. “Today united we can also defeat divisiveness and the poverty which is our enemy number one”.Zuma regarded the monument as symbolizing “the deep historic ties that bind our two countries”. He recalled the first President of a free South Africa Nelson Mandela pledged in 1996 that South Africa would “never forget” the sacrifices made in the anti-apartheid struggle. “Today we redeem that promise”, Zuma said. “We built this monument so that we will not forget”.“This moment is symbolic of the triumph of the human spirit”, he added. “It reminds us of the innate capacity to endure the most difficult of times”.Contrary to what the apartheid regime had imagined, Zuma said, “the blood of our freedom fighters shed here strengthened the alliance between Frelimo and the ANC”. That alliance was sealed by the death of “the most outstanding son of the Mozambican people, Samora Machel” – who lost his life in a plane crash in 1986, widely believed to have been caused by the apartheid military.
Echoing Nyusi’s words, Zuma said “we must together grapple with the strategic questions facing our peoples, such as unemployment, inequality and poverty. We must work together as we face these challenges”.Earlier in the day, the two presidents visited Maputo’s Lhanguene cemetery, where the victims of the Matola raid are buried. Here they unveiled a large collective gravestone for the South African freedom fighters who died at Matola and in later apartheid bombings and incursions into Mozambique.They also laid wreaths on the graves of five Mozambicans who died during the South African air raid against Matola on 23 May 1983.

1 comentários:

raj said...

Good article......I was present.....My brother also died in the raid....KRISHNA RABILAL

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