Friday, 9 November 2012

Robben Island vs Camp Quatro

I read an article on News24 this morning stating the reasons why black people still vote for the ANC as opposed to the DA.  The overall impression I got is that most black people believe that the DA is a “white party” and that they want to bring back Apartheid.

I wanted to draw comparisons between Helen Zille, Jacob Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe and looked up their bio’s on Wikipedia.

Who are they?

Helen Zille was a journalist who fought against Apartheid in the 70’s and 80’s. She exposed the cover-up relating to Steve Biko’s death. She was also involved in the Black Sash movement during the 80’s. In 2008, Helen Zille was named “Mayor of the World.”

Jacob Zuma joined the ANC when he was 17. He joined Umkhonto we Sizwe when he was 20 and was arrested when he was 21 and served 10 years on Robben Island. He served as referee for prisoners' association football games on Robben Island.  When he was released, he left the country. He was part of the ANC's political and military council in exile. Zuma returned to South Africa in 1990 and was elected as an ANC chairperson. The rest is history.

Kgalema Motlanthe joined Umkhonto we Sizwe when he was 21 and was arrested when he was 27. He spent 10 years on Robben Island and was released in 1987. Shortly after his release he was elected Secretary-General of the National Union of Mineworkers.

So, how many years did Zuma and Motlanthe “struggle” in South Africa? What makes them so special?
I’ll tell you what I think. It’s the Robben Island clique.

Life on Robben Island:

But when I saw that Zuma was most famous among the Robben Islanders as a football referee, I thought I’d do a bit of research to see what conditions on Robben Island were like. I was quite surprised.

From what I gathered - and I want to ask those who I know are going to disagree with me to google it – being imprisoned on Robben Island wasn’t half as bad as being in any other prison in SA today.

"We were a community of people who ranged from the totally illiterate to people who could very easily have been professors at universities. We shared basically everything. The years out there were the most productive years in one's life, we were able to read, we read all the material that came our way, took an interest in the lives of people even in the remotest corners of this world. To me those years gave meaning to life."  - Motlanthe

“But his real love was his garden. For years he had cultivated the area around the courtyard. He had planted grass and flowers - over the years he had managed to acquire seeds - and cared for them every day. He collected rain water by placing plastic drums under the drainpipes, carting them around to the flower beds when they were full and reserving some for dry days.” – Robben Island Prisoner

"We were introduced to lunch-time political classes that consisted either of an analysis of newspaper reports or the discussion of topical issues. Newspaper reports and political notes at the time came in the form of impukani.2 At the time the political class dealt with the early history of the ANC, more specifically whether the ANC was a reformist or revolutionary organization right from its outset. I argued that at best it was a reformist organization at the time as it sought to be accommodated within the constitutional framework of the day." - Cecyl Esau

“On New Year's Eve 1989 we held a variety concert in our cell. A stage was organized in the middle of the communal cell. 'Maradonna' Shezi from Kwa-Zulu Natal and I performed a song from Lloyd Webber's Evita to an appreciative audience. The following year's New Year's Day variety concert was a much grander concert.” - Cecyl Esau

“During the month of December the Sports and Recreation Committee usually organized Summer Games. Inmates were divided into different teams competing in soccer, rugby, tennis, table tennis, volley ball, athletics (track and field events), and chess.” - Cecyl Esau

"On Saturdays there was always excitement in the prison because it was a sports day. Sports teams from the different sections were allowed to play against one another, usually on the soccer field next to G and F Sections. Soccer was the most popular sport. The sports and recreational activities were organized by a body established by the inmates across political affiliations. Funds were collected in South Africa and abroad to buy sporting and recreational equipment." - Cecyl Esau

Life in Camp Quatro:

And then I did a bit of a search on Umkhonto we Sizwe and found some very interesting articles about the ANC prison camps. The most famous camp was called “Quatro” and was located in Angola.

This is an extract from the book by Paul Trewhela, Inside Quatro: (In contrast to the previous quote)

Rest of article here: Inside Camp Quatro - Paul Trewhela

Saturday was the worst day. It was a day of strip and cell searches; the commanders would enter each cell with sticks and the search would commence. If a single prisoner made even a slight mistake as a result of panic, the whole cell would be in for it, and to drown the noise of their screams, other cells would be instructed to sing.”

“They were normally given spoiled food that was rejected by the cadres of the ANC in the camps, and it was normally half-cooked by the beaten, insulted and frightened prisoners.”

“A visit to the clinic usually resulted in beatings of sick people and extremely inhumane treatment for the prisoners.”

It just boggles my mind how the truth can be so easily hidden from the majority. The ANC keeps going on and on and on about the “struggle”. But while they were living it up in a 5-star prison, other black South Africans were being beaten and starved in ANC prison camps all over Southern Africa.  Some of these prisoners were killed when they returned to South Africa to keep them from telling the truth. People that are high up in the ANC today, like Joe Modise, were in charge of these camps. Chris Hani as well.






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