7 September

'As I began to crawl towards him, the gunfire broke out again, as angry and prolonged as before, and I froze where I lay. The sinister whirr of projectiles overhead, followed by four dull thuds, made me realise with horror that they were firing grenades as well.' _ Petros Vantyu,
September 2009

At least 24 people died and 150 were injured today in 1992 at a march led by ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa. The march, which was organised to demand the end of the Ciskei military government of Brigadier Joshua Gqozo, ended when soldiers fired into the crowds. Ciskei was one of ten 'tribal homelands' created by the South African government and at the core of the apartheid system, designed so that blacks could not claim to be South African citizens.

The Bisho massacre, as it became known, led to the reopening of negotiations between the ANC and the South African government.

'It was ... just after 12 on one such hot, sunny day, when 80,000 of us came over the hill from King William's Town, saying 'no more slavery'. The police helicopter was high in the sky. Gqozo gave the order of the apartheid masters from that building [the present legislature] to open fire and our people's blood was spilled, blood that nourishes the tree of freedom.'
Ronnie Kasrils, Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry

Comments are now closed on this article.

Red Pepper · 44-48 Shepherdess Walk, London N1 7JP · +44 (0)20 7324 5068 · office[at]redpepper.org.uk
Advertise · Press · Donate
For subscriptions enquiries please email subs@redpepper.org.uk